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tv   MSNBC Special Coverage  MSNBC  January 31, 2012 11:00pm-5:00am EST

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s. good evening. i'm chris matthews in miami, florida, with a late night special. this is hardball. tonight mitt romney scored an important win. we project he's secured a strong double-digit lead over newt gingrich. he outspend gingrich by four to one bombarding him with negative ads. and this was a big win after a loss in south carolina. he now reemerges has the front-runner. polls out this week show independent voters increasingly
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turned off to romney and the results from the all out negativity of the campaign isn't going to help. more ads for romney were positive. and he was paying for most of them. and how much damage has it done to newt gingrich? he's vowed to keep fighting. so there's a long way to go before now and coming back here to tampa at the beginning of the summer. let me ask you all, first of all, let's talk about newt. he goes away snarling tonight. he did not endorse, he did not support. he did not congratulations. he did not concede tonight. what is that going to mean? >> well, a long campaign.
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now it's going to be long as a matter of intention. and now his ally, ron paul will be the caucuses. i saw dloogs and defiance. he detailed and almost lunatic specificity the first days of his administration. but he was doing that to make a point. which is he thinks big thoughts and he thinks in the long term. now the defiance is what i heard not only was the guy is going to try to take it all the way to the convention, but a guy who will be difficult to get in the convention. once he's in the convention will difficult to keep in the convention. he said a people's campaign directly between him and the people. that means if he's not satisfied with romney, if he doesn't win, if he country get what he wants in the convention, which he
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won't, he's going to threaten -- i'm telling you, he's going to threaten to go outside the party and create as much havoc as he can as a third party. >> let me ask me your thoughts. is this guy doing what ted kennedy did? he says i'm going to write a contract with the voters. is he going to hold the scriptures and say if you don't agree with my stuff, i'm the real conservative and you're just a pretender. >> i like you use the words scripture. i think of old testament newt and new testament newt. the old testament newt is about vengeance and scorn. then there's the new book of newt. the book of revelations. well, cocktails at 12 and lunch at 12:30. the people's campaign thing is really important. what has happened is there's now
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a skirts and skins game. the establishment versus the glass roots. the managerial class versus the populous. and newt is throwing down with the populous grass roots outside the establishment. this is a people's campaign. not a bob dole campaign. not an rnc campaign. he's trying to rally the people. >> the very division goes back all through the division of the party. newt is grabbing the other half he didn't win tonight. here's gingrich talking about people power. let's listen. >> now you might ask, how can that be true? i'll give you the answer. it was stated at a historic moment in 1863 a in dedicating our first national military cemetery. by the president of the united
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states, abraham lincoln who said we have government of the people, by the people, for the people. and we're going to have people power defeat money power in the next six months. >> you know, we have evidence he may have a case here. 41% of the people backing mitt romney or of the party say he's too liberal. is newt here offering to be that guy who is still to come in the race? >> loob at what mitt romney did get. he got a big vote. he didn't get a majority. >> swept the panhandle. but if you add up newt gingrich and ron paul and rick santorum, it's still a majority compared with mitt romney. so newt's calculation is h won't
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say much nasty at all if it weren't for the issue of the middle east and so forth they would be soul mates in the entirety, really. and newt is going to just keep driving it. >> let's get the exit polling from tamron hall. >> mitt romney beat newt gingrich among most voter groups in our exit poll. let's take a look. we start by looking at where he did well. among moderates you see ploms there. 62% with that group of voters. people who make over $200,000. strong there as well. those families supporting him 50% there. 59% in the latino vote. and for those who don't support
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the tea party, romney's numbers are at 55% of the vote there. romney's problems can be seen with the more conservative parts of the republican base. voters split eventually between those who call themselves very conservative versus those who say they are somewhat conservative. and gingrich beat romney by 11 points. and finally the exit poll included other hints about where romney might need to improve. take a look at this. 41% of voters said romney's positions on issues are not conservative enough. and 38% said they would still like to see someone else run for the nomination. chris, you mentioned that. it remains to be seen if weaknesses like those are enough to stop mitt romney from getting the nomination.
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even those people who voted for romney today. >> tamron hall, thank you for that. those are the key numbers. the 14%. 38% still looking for mr. own mrs. right to come along. how does romney identify that problem and deal with it? >> romney has got to figure out a positive message that appeals to conservative voters. >> how does he win their heart? >> if i had an answer i would work for the romney campaign. but he's not trying to appeal to their heads or their hearts. you see his stump speeches and they are idea free exercises. there's nothing there. he's very good at attacking. he can win by attacking. but in the end in a party that's riveted the way the party is and a party where he needs the conservative enthusiasm if he's
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the nominee, he must come up with some kind of a big idea that gets conservatives. there's a larger number than with him now. >> john is right. there's no conservative idea or vision that animates this. >> why doesn't he have the 9-9-9? >> that's a very good question. he needs something that people can identify with as a core conservative idea. beyond merely attacking the president, which is what he does, he thinks merely attacking the president will somehow win him conservative votes. but the combination of attacking the president and attacking newt gingrich has left him in a position where he won down here with more than a third of the people who voted for him, wishing that other candidates were in the race. and to me that's an astonishing number. >> it's hard to vote for an executioner. let's listen to this. an overwhelmingly campaign in florida. 92% of the ads were negative. less than 1 positive. mitt romney vowed the republican party will be united. he had to. he's only saying he will.
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let's listen. >> our opponents in the other party have been watching. and they like to comfort themselves with the thought that a competitive campaign will leave us divided and weak. but i've got news for them. a competitive primary does not divide us, it prepares us. and we will win. and when we gather back here in tampa seven months from now for our convention -- [ cheering ] ours will be a united party with a winning ticket for america. >> there you go. a united party with a winning ticket. certainly it's not yipted tonight. the man looks like he's out the hall of the presidents. there's something mechanical about that. something not spirited or inspired. i'm going back to the same
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question i'm going to leave the audience with tonight. he didn't get the gut. newt got the gut. is he going to get the heart ever of the party? >> i think the notion is almost the definition of the wish being the father to the thought. i'll put a pin in something that's happening next week as a round about way. they see them as gathering in washington, d.c. next week in the middle of the republican primary campaign. every current and former republican presidential candidate in the cycle will be there. rick perry, michele bachmann, herman cain, gingrich, romney and on the closing speech, sarah palin. these are from outside washington and inside washington. >> will they just trash obama? >> they will. but you'll see a lot of the issues that are alive litigated.
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he has a chance to give a big speech. i'm saying he has a chance. this is a big opportunity for them. will he do it? i don't know. >> they are really the core of the modern conservative movement and party. the unifying theme of that event is going to be can mitt romney convince us, can he pass fi us? i predict the answer will be no. the answer is going to be no. thank you, coming up now, gingrich vows to stay in the race until the bitter end. is that good for the republican party? i don't think so. our coverage of the florida primary continues in a minute. this is a special edition of hardball live from the children's museum on watson island. we'll be right back. >> it is now clear that this will be a two-person race
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between the conservative leader newt gingrich and the massachusetts moderate.
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we are going to contest every place. we will win. we will be in tampa as the nominee in august. welcome back to the special late night edition of hardball. former rnc chair michael steele. we have a lot to talk about tonight. this race is only the second one for romney to win, gene. he got beaten to hell in the panhandle in the southern part of the state, when he was actually in the north.
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he hasn't won the heart and soul of the republican party. it's a southern based party. it wins the base and it also wins suburbs around the big city and wins the reagan democrats. and romney hasn't connected with the voters. and they did it in south carolina. and they did it in the florida panhandle. >> the republican in knowing that party structure, can a guy from the atlantic doughnut be mr. south? he seemed to be writing the scriptures of conservatism. all the concerns for obama care to dodd-frank. he went through an amazing hit list.
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he will be onto different regulations. from a policy standpoint. not what you just witnessed in florida with the negative ads, but what we should have been talking about going forward. let me tell you two things are going to happen. one, i think you're going to see both newt and santorum begin a move on health care. i think the two of them are going to come out of florida. that's the one that's not been explored esksively. so is rick santorum. he's already ahead in nevada. they're releasing a new commercial there starting tonight. late tonight, tomorrow morning. so you're going to see them begin to play on different fields. so romney is going to have to do one of those dance over here, dance over there. while he's also going to front
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what will be an on slot on health care. >> he has to keep moving and playing defense on the right. he can't go after obama yet. >> and newt set it up with a litany of policy that the party should talk about. it. >> reminds me of ted kennedy when he was losing to carter. if he lays down a philosophical case, i'm the conservative. can he win the case? >> he can make a case. he can keep the party in turmoil for months and months. we're dealing with newt gingrich. he is in constancy itself. he can be brilliant. he can be terrible in debates. >> what did you make of his manifest t manifesto tonight? >> he nailed everything. he went through the executive orders he would sign.
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>> that's not every outing for newt gingrich. second thing. in all the problems that romney confronts going ahead. he won by 50 points. he won ugly. if you were overseeing the writing of the headline in tomorrow morning's "washington post," your paper, it would be romney wins. but would there be a sub text that says he wins dirty? you don't have to. but it's a party man, would gingrich refused to concede tonight. everybody concedes when they lose. he didn't. >> that's a personal moment for
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newt. at some point it becomes personal. i think that was the moment. i'm not calling it. >> i'm not jumping over the net. >> not doing it. not doing it. that lays down to your point. in the mind, the base, you really don't like this guy. you don't like this guy. >> you've covered this. what is it about newt? maybe just envy. it could be just envy. that's normal behavior. nobody who campaigns against mitt romney ends up liking him. >> no. >> you're laughing, but that's always true. >> not just mccain. the entire field in 2008. he's a christian believer. >> there's something about the guy that draws this out of his opponents. his problem, and i think it's why you see his numbers the way they were with the base as a whole, 40 some percent tonight,
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saying not really is that they also pick up that vibe. so he's got to figure out, his team has got to figure out how they suppress the vibe, however he is giving it off, to let people know there's a warm fuzzy side that's going to be important for him going forward. >> there is a fuzzy side to whom? mitt romney? >> no, i'm saying he has to show that there is. it will be a showdown. >> he's got to say something. he has to say something that connects with the audience. it's got to be more than i can beat obama. >> sounds like a lot of fun. that's over in arlington. thank you, michael steele. thank you, gene robinson.
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the obama campaign learning about mitt romney and how they will use the info. a lot of info coming out. not a great weekend for mitt romney. but he did win. he did win. we'll be right back. the democrats won the special election in oregon for the open house seat. we'll be back with more of the special eedition of hardball tonight from miami.
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mr. president, you were elected to lead. you chose to follow. now it's time for you to get out of the way. >> this promises to be a long and ugly battle for the republican nomination, the obama
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campaign is gearing up about who they expect to face. it looks like they expect to face mitt romney. we have steve schmidt and author and historian, jonathan alter. gentlemen, let's talk about taxes here. as part of the vetting for vice president the last time around in 2008 do you know your campaign, the mccain campaign thought of the tax returns? did they pass muster, and who has copies of them? >> you know, chris, to take you back four years ago on the vetting process, i wasn't part of the vetting team. i didn't see the information. they are available. they are passive. you can turn them over to the
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mccain campaign. you can certainly turn them over to the public now. >> i think the campaign can turn over as much as they want to turn over. i don't know how far back he keeps his taxes. he turned over a year's worth to the mccain campaign. he's going to be called onto disclose as much of this as has ever been disclosed before, and it's going to be an issue he has to deal with for the duration of his campaign. >> i know one thing i think about this campaign and one success of the campaign coming out of the occupy movement, as limited as it was, jonathan, it seems historically it's raised the issue of the very top people in the country economically and the advantages they have with regard to the political structure. it seems to me this money in the cayman islands will come back to haunt the fellow. all the money he stored offshore. you're out of the work in the midwest. you're out of work in the states.
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this guy takes his money overseas to avoid being part of our process. >> yeah, and it's important shorthand. that's right. use it on "meet the press" to talk about the swiss bank accounts. it's less complicated. it communicates that he's the poster boy of whatnot just occupy wall street is against, because they're going to get discredited by the time the year is over. but what a lo of the american public believes has been unfair in the last 10, 15, even 20 years. it's been getting more than they deserve in a just society. in the past it hasn't worked well for democrats. it has seemed contrary to the american dream.
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actually, obama is more of a pro business pop list, if that's not too much of an oxymoron. his state of the union speech was full of probusiness ideas. >> let me ask you about the republican party. it's not like old money or big money. it's not like the democratic par party, it's more of a middle class party. make your own money party. i don't think it's like old money people over time. people like romney. you think they're going to get excited about a guy like romney who seems like he inherited the money, no matter how he got it. >> one of the important findings is you have 40% of the electorate. another candidate in the race.
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there was clearly a lack of enthusiasm among a wide section of republicans for both of the two candidates leading in the race. and i think there's a difference between rick santorum's rhetoric on the issues, who is really appealing to a blue collar audience. he really speaks the language in an effective way. ronald reagan was able to communicate to this group of americans. and i think it's important to take the message to blue collar communities. thus far mitt romney habit done that particularly effectively. this is going to be an issue all through the race. all candidates come in with assets. they come in with liabilities. this could be an asset for him. it could be a liability for him. this will be the central ground of his testing in the weeks ahead.
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you have written about the ability of ronald reagan who could connect to the guy working out in milwaukee in a factory. this ability to connect is not there with these guys. >> you know, democrats like roosevelt and kennedy, buzz their policies are more protected at working people, they can get away with the fact they didn't come up the hard way. republicans, it really helps if you're self made, like ronald reagan and you actually came all the way up. if you're born with a silver spoon in your mouth, it's harder for you as george h. w. bush learned. he only got in through the vice presidentsy. he didn't make it directly to the oval office. so it's been very tough for a
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republican to connect to working class voters when they come from a background that smells of money. >> if i were on that side, i would be thinking i'm looking for mr. goodbar, too, and i don't see him coming down. i don't see the guy i'm looking for. do you, steve? >> i think both parties have a floor of about 47%. i think the republican nominee starts off at 47. i think the president starts off at 47. we're going to be competing over a very, very narrow electorate. and half the country has the other half of the country totally tuned out. there's a famous photo op where the queen and king of england comes to visit at hide park. he serves him hot dogs.
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there's a great story about fdr. a grieving man fell to his knees. the guy next to him says, did you know the president? he says, no, i didn't know the president. but he knew me. barack obama doesn't have that either with a lot of voters. they don't have the sense that he really knows them and what they're worried about. i actually think contrary to what the colleagues have been saying that the longer gingrich stays in, the better it is for romney.
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gingrich's message is that romney is a massachusetts moderate. the more he drills that home and imprints that on the minds of voters, the easier it is for mitt romney to appeal to independent who is are more moderate than the voters taking part in these republican primarie primaries. >> i've always thought that. how they are playing a may zwror role in determining the nominee. we have new information about the rich billionaire whose money is shaping this republican fight. you're watching it a late night edition of hardball on msnbc. a competitive primary does not divide us, it prepares us. and we will win.
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welcome back to a late night edition of hardball. we're finally able to get a look at who some of the biggest money people are behind the biggest super pacs. especially those financing the negative ads out of romney. michaeli michael isikoff, let me ask you this. all this negative advertising, something like 92% of which is
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negative. $24 million spend down here in the last few days. who is paying for the romney piece of this? >> funny you should ask, chris. we just learned that restore our future held back the filing with the fec, which was required by midnight tonight until after romney gave his victory speech. they didn't want to step on it. they didn't want attention. easy to see why. $7.9 million during the last six months of the year. by far the biggest super pac. newt gingrich only raised 2.1 and the obama super pac, only 4 hnt $4 million. far below the ambitious goals they have set. then you look at the list and
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really see how with the super pacs we get the billionaire donors who can pump enormous amounts of money. seven separate million dollar checks came in from -- to that romney super pac. a lot of energy guys. bill coke of the coke brothers fame kicked in a million dollars. and then there's a strange one from idaho. a devout mormon who run a wellness company under the name of malucha, that contributed a million dollars. but we're going to have a lot of fun over the next few days looking at this list. trying to figure out who these people are and what their angles are. it's clear they had a big impact on the election.
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>> the problem in terms of ethics is mitt romney and the people running the government if he gets elected president all know who brought the money in here. he knows who they are now. he helped them get elected. these are supposed to be independent groups. they don't know what the other is doing. and then you have romney pitching donors, telling them to give to the super pac. once you do that, the idea that they're truly independent is pretty -- it evaporates quickly. and now we see who these donors are. and look, we're going to see a lot more. and i expect the obama super pac will be having plenty of donors down the future.
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it's notable the amounts of money they raised are far less than a lot of us anticipated. about the most notable was $100,000 from steven spielberg. >> i was just watching this. were you stunned tonight that newt gingrich only -- thank you. his only gee wiz was to move the embassy. and a long list of things to do. that's all he gave him. he's been stint on that point. he's been saying that. and he's been -- the recipient from the last -- for the last five years. we did learn from the gingri
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gingrich pac that even before the $10 million came in, another million dollars had already come in from three other family members of sheldon adelson. all listed from the same address at the hotel in vegas. thank you, michael isikoff. he is a native to gingrich. let me ask you a couple of questions about you guys tonight. what is he up to now? is he going to try to win in the next couple weeks. is he going to take losses in february and hope he can get through the conservative southern states in march. he had mitt romney, the
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moderate, versus newt gingrich the conservative. it's something that we can win. >> those list of things he promised to do tonight, it did look like a manifesto. is he doing what ted kennedy did to jimmy carter, saying i may not win the fight but i'm going to be the guy who stands for party principle. is he going to be conservative ideologue against what he sees as -- well, the opportunist on the other side? >> no. i think newt gingrich believes he has a genuine shot at the nomination. and he's going to fight through. and as was mentioned, there are at least 46 more states to go. i think there are more than that because of the territories involved, too. but we're going to fight it out state by state. we'll see who shows up at the convention in august. are you sure if the other guy wins the nomination that newt is behind it. will he insist they sind off on
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the manifesto before he does that? >> no, i've known newt a long time. newt ran as a republican in 1974 when you couldn't get your trash picked up in georgia as a republican. and he's always been a party person. he's not going to leave the party. he wants to build up the party and not lead up the party. >> let me ask you about the results tonight. they seem to be a function of two failed debate performances by newt. were you surprised he didn't bring the fight to mitt romney on those two occasions? i was. most people in journalism were. we expected a really donny brook in both cases. romney was told you have to make newt mad. all the surrogates said newt is
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very angry and hostile. i've never known him to be that way. but he did get angry. so in that sense mitt romney failed. but i thought they were okay debate performances. you know, even the hall of famers, you know, don't hit the ball two out of three times. >> i got to tell you a bit of history. richard nixon before i went into the debate with jack kennedy. he won every debate before that. he was told to erase the assassin image. he blew it. it seems to be the fighter of a fight. that's just my thinking. if you don't fight, don't expect to win. >> up next, will the score card strategy spread out west to nevada? will mitt keep buying big negative ads to pummel and destroy his opponent?
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we're back from miami, florida, on the beautiful top of a building here. anybody want to come to florida? come to florida. it's great weather. tonight the attention turns to nevada which holds caucuses this
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coming saturday. newt gingrich will make a strong play for the first western state of the primary season. and a former senate candidate in nevada and a gingrich supporter. i want to go to sue out of favoritism here, john. excuse me for a minute. let me ask you about gingrich here. he lost here. totally negative campaign against him. just relentless carpet bombing at this guy. no positives for mitt romney. just all negative on this guy. 92% of the ads here. can they do it in nevada? can they do it again against your candidate? >> they're already doing it. he's being bombarded already, which is bad news for newt gingrich, but good news for the economy, which is so bad that we have all the new tv commercials.
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>> you probably say as a former tv star that you like the advertising. what if it's all negative against newt and so he's remove ed from the face of the earth. pulverize until he quits the race. >> i agree. that's what it looks like is going to happen. and it's unfortunate. all of us who are trying to vote here in the caucus on saturday want to hear from the candidates, where are they going? what is the future of the country? what do they have in mind? rick santorum arrived with a lot of publicity. >> let me go for an objective look at this thing. it seems your state is going to do what? you have lds support for romney.
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mormon church people out there. last time they showed close to a quarter of the vote. he's been running for president for years. he never left the organization after 2008. he's got that and he's got money. they gt mailers in the boxes that says newt spells trouble. sue mentioned the ads rr going on from both the super pac and from the romney campaign. i'm a little astounded that everyone seems so shocked that the campaign is so negative.
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the twailgt campaign was, too. they're going to pulverize gingrich. you know they want him out of the race. >> again, john, the question, how do you get people to vote in the general election for mitt romney if he spends all his money in nevada trashing an opponent and not selling his heart? how does he win the heart -- i hate to be romantic about this, but how do you win the hearts of conservative republicans by just smashing your opponent? >> i guess the answer to that is, the fact is so many republicans and they hope enough independents are so negative about president obama that they can do whatever they want in the primary and they'll still vote for him. it's turning around with independents because of what has gone on in this republican primary.
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so it's a risky strategy. but they're counting on the negative toward obama. >> what a statement about the situation. thanks for that account. john and sue, it's great having you on, sue. that's it for our late night special. this is msnbc's kovrm of the florida primary continues in a moment.
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former massachusetts governor mitt romney projected to win big in florida tonight after a hard fought and almost uniformly negative campaign. >> a competitive primary does not divide us, it prepares us. and we will win. >> 50 delegates up for grabs tonight. more than any other contest thaus for. but literally written on his podium, newt gingrich, a distant
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second in florida already telegraphing another number. >> we are going to contest another place. we will be in tampa as the nominee in august. >> doing his own count tonight. from the next nominating contest in nevada. an upbeat congressman ron paul. >> tonight i saw a statistic we're in third place when it comes to delegates. that's what really counts. >> that may be what really counts. but by our count you're in fourth place when it comes to delegates. also tonight in las vegas, former pennsylvania senator rick santorum also looking ahead to the nevada caucuses and the races beyond that. also slamming his opponents if the negative tone of the florida campaign. >> one message that we got from the campaign in florida is that republicans can do better. >> more now from our exit polling in florida and the challenges that lie ahead for
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mitt romney as he heads into february contests very different than the ones that happened in january. for exit polls we turn to tamron hall. >> mitt romney won convincingly in florida. but the nbc exit poll hints at potential challenges still ahead. for one thing, some of his support is soft. about six in ten voters are satisfied with the republican field, 38% say they would like to see someone else run for the nomination. that includes 37% of romney's own voters. another weak vns. many question his conservative credentia credentials. 41% believe he's not conservative enough. 47% say his issues are right. 6% say he's too conservative. also romney has faced questions about how well he connects with average people giving that he is one of the wealthiest presidential candidates we've
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seen in history. when asked what better understands the problems of the average american, 4% say romney. but that eight-point margin is less than the margin he's winning by in florida tonight. >> tamron, thank you. the first number that tamron just gave there just blew my mind. usually what happens is as voters commit themselves to a candidate by going out to the polls and voting for them, you see the proportion of voters want somebody else to enter the race go down. tonight in florida in the fourth contest we're seeing four in ten florida republican voters still want somebody else to enter the race. how is that possible four races into this? let's go down to chris matthews who is in miami. chris, am i overreacting to this? doesn't this seem like an
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unusually high snurm? they're not getting used to romney. they're accepting him. they're not growing accustomed to his face. it's not working. that's a real problem for them. romney has nods instilled it. he did not run positive ads about yourself here. the only happy person was ron paul. he looks like he's having the time of his life. he says whatever occurs to him, no matter what he says. no matter how wacky. he says the most obscure things and they love him more for it. he talks about fed policy. he has people 20 years old going nuts over it. he's the winner in terms of life here. whatever they tell him to do.
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but there's no love for him or buy him. it's interesting. i don't think strantorum is havg the time of his life mitt is certainly not. ron paul is enjoying the campaign. he has no prayer in the world. he's probably not even a republican as lawrence says all the time. yet he seems to be enjoying the process. not him. not any winner. he didn't have the good grace to say one good thing about himself. newt gingrich didn't show him the slightest bit of grace tonight. i don't think he conceded. i may be wrong. i may have missed the line somewhere. but certainly no tribute to the guy who won the florida primary tonight.
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ron paul is the only one saying what he believes. >> i think you're totally right to zoom in on the happiness of ron paul, if only because it is the most emotion you get. we did not see that tonight. what you're talking about ron paul, talking about obscure policy that most people don't know about, ron paul did less of that and newt gingrich did more of it. it was like there was a crossover. not since dengle norwood. what about dingle norwood. everybody said what a dingle
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berry. i shouldn't have said that. >> chuck todd is looking at the breakdown by county and in the general election. what do you have? >> number one, just look at it right now. it tells you why we told you to look at this throughout the night. simply look at northern florida. these margins weren't huge, but he won them. he hopes when he gets to march on super tuesday in more states like places like alabama, mississippi, oklahoma, tennessee, this is what gives them hope if he runs a better campaign than he did this time he clearly has a base to build on. because romney is going to prove to have more vote than any republican presidential candidate in florida's history. he did it basically in five
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counties. half of his vote margin came out of here. it was an unbelievable margin he got out of the south and tampa. you would think when you get close to 50% you would win every media market in the state. no, this was a very bottom heavy victo victory, you will, for mitt romney. i don't think we learned anything about the general. there's a really fun fact who ran obama's florida effort in 2008. this is the total presidential vote for the last election. the margin is 56,000 votes.
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that's 0.17%. less than two-tenths have separated them in the last five presidential elections. the largest was clinton in '96. largest republican margin was bush in 2004. but there's a reason why florida is america's swing state. more even inside a republican primary. we will probably see until we get to hawaii. >> i am really struck by how many counties newt gingrich won given the big margin by which mitt romney won the overall state.
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what you're essentially saying is mitt romney did not find a way to broadly appeal geographically across the state. he essentially used organizational strength to maximize the turnout of his voters in the parts of the state where he would otherwise do well. he was going to win anyway. but he really lost the northern part of the state badly, didn't he? >> well, when you looked and saw our wall street journal poll. last week we were talking why is gingrich ahead nationally at the time? he consolidated the base of the party. he is sitting at. which is southerners, very -- the folks that call themselves very conservative, and strong supporters of the tea party. that's somewhere between 30 and 35% of the republican electorate in general. and the further north you go in florida, the more south you go.
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what the map shows is what you just said. romney still has an issue with the core base conservative. if you believe the party, which is still sort of based in the south. it's a culturally conservative southern party. it's the heart of the party. it's not the majority of the party. but it is sort of the largest plurality part of the party if you will. it's still the heart. and that is where gingrich has a foundation to build on. now if he ever could run a campaign to build from there, you see where he could go. you would rather start where newt is starting, if you were. if you were starting from scratch, than where romney is starting. it's harder normally in a republican primary or any primary to have to sort of win over the base. what romney is doing is much harder than what newt is doing.
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i think what chuck went to at the end in, if you're looking at the results, even though mitt romney just won florida, you would rather be newt gingrich than mitt romney looking at the map. do you think that's right, steve? >> i think you would rather be mitt romney overall when you look at the money, you look at the resources. the heart and soul is in the south. and the problem is that you have someone from massachusetts who is accumulating the delegates, winning the state, and when newt gingrich calls him a massachusetts moderate, it's a polite way of calling him a yankee for all the southern states that are yet to come. and you have a situation where they do very well. and georgia and mississippi. yet, still be the person far behind in the delegate count and far behind in second place like
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he is tonight for the overall nomination. and you have the nominee of the republican party could be someone who is, you know, from outside of the cultural center, and that creates great tension in the party. >> so let me say something provocative, but i think it's true. is that why we keep getting racial illusions from newt gingrich? newt gingrich brought back the food stamps president thing. he's been bringing that up in florida. tonight he went to president obama ought to stop singing. ought to stop being the entertainer in chief. essentially caricaturing him in a way that almost calls out to menstrualcy. >> i think you're right, which is why i brought herman cain tobacco in the conversation. he is clearly going after what he considers a southern mentality. when he talks about the food stamp stuff. newt gingrich is many things. stupid is not one of them.
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he knows exactly what he's saying. he's knows exactly who he's playing to, and when you look at that map, he knows that you deal with the northern border of florida, which is southern alabama, and all of those states where they're headed. he knows what card he's playing. and he also knows this. even if he can't run, steve, a campaign that is sharp enough to take the nomination, the worst thing that could happen to mitt romney is he becomes the leader of that conservative block that mitt romney has got to deal with in tampa at the convention. can you imagine if he walks in the convention as the leader of the conservative wing of the republican party. nout gingrich is not the kind of guy you want to associate with. four of the people surveyed
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don't think he's conservative enough. mitt romney is not conservative enough. four in ten people surveyed want somebody else. i was listening to newt tonight. i'm thinking, is this guy thinking about a possible independent run? he's ripping on the republicans. he's ripping on the establishment. he's talking as if he's further to the right than where the republicans are right now. romney is not your guy. i'm the guy. i'm staying in this thing. he's looking at those two big numbers tonight to keep him going. and that's what he is going to be selling hard to the people that will possibly write him a check. >> two provocative questions to put to the gingrich campaign. is it possible he's prepping for a third party candidate? not ron paul but newt gingrich. and is he using coded racial language to appeal to white conservative voters in the deep south? very provocative questions. we'll pick up with them with a supporter of the gingrich campaign.
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rick tyler from the super pac winning our future, next.
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i'll tell you out front. i'm not going to compete with obama in singing because i'm not running for entertainer in chief. i'm running for president. you cannot see your way past the disaster of your presidency. mitt romney, newt gingrich, not talking about that.
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singling out the president as being bad for singing. he is calling him the entertainer in chief. we've been talking about the results in florida. newt gingrich did surprisingly well in florida's northern counties. the ones that look, frankly, more like the rest of the south. we're joined by rick tyler with the pro-newt gingrich winning the super pac. rick, thanks for being with us again. it's nice to have you back. >> glad to be here. >> we hear -- at least i hear. when mr. speaker talked about the president as entertainer in chief, as somebody who ought to stop singing and dealing with the real problems of the country. coming on the heels of calling him a food stamp president. i hear racially coded language there. i hear mr. gingrich trying to appeal to southern white conservatives who may be responding to racially biased coded language about the president.
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and msnbc ought to get off this race kick. if we want to talk about the republican party, the republican party was started by abraham lincoln. we started a civil war. if you go back to the 1856 democrat pick platform, it's a racist platform. so we can go down this road. but the republican party has a proud history. >> what about tonight? >> what about tonight? >> you can talk about the civil war and through retrux and through the past century. but what -- let me finish the question and i promise i'll shut up. food stamp president. that i will go to the naacp and tell them to be dissatisfied with food stamps and they should demand paychecks. and this president is an entertainer in cheer and ought to stop singing and deal with the real problems of the country. there's a pattern of very, i think obviously racially coated
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language that has nothing to do with the parties in the civil war. >> i don't understand this. the president sings. newt gingrich makes a little thing and all the sudden it's a racist thing. more people are on food stamps because of barack obama. they abort the babies. they've done nothing to lift them out of poverty. maybe we have good intentions, too. but our policies haven't been tried. how about we accept we both have the right intentions for everybody to rise out of poverty, and you talked about that before, and maybe we should try our policies that put people back to work. tell them to shut up, collect the check and vote for democrat. i don't buy this race baiting. >> that's not what newt gingrich said. newt gingrich brought race up in the campaign. >> tell me when he did, al.
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>> i'm getting ready to tell you. he said, and i'm quoting him, that he would go to the naacp and tell black people to stop being satisfied with people. he didn't say people on food stamps. he sad black people. don't be satisfied with food stamps, that they should demand jobs. he said that black people in communities that youngsters don't have role models. this is not what he said when he went on the tour with me for, a tour that president obama asked him to go on. he's brought race in the campaign by name. you cannot then turn around and act like rachel and i are bringing up race. wait a minute. i'm going to let you finish. but i'm going to finish this part. he brought up race. you need to answer it. if he didn't want to deal with race, why did he bring up race? and it's a patent untruth that president obama has more people on food stamps. more people went on new food stamp recipients under george bush than under president obama. would you call him a food stamp
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president? >> we're not running against george bush. >> answer the facts. you just said that obama had more. that is factually incorrect. >> al, 98% of african-americans vote democrat. okay. what have they gotten for it? poor schools, poor neighborhoods, crime ridden neighborhoods, destruction of the family and the democrats want to abort their babies. so that's their position. i'm not going to defend that. >> people vote -- black people are voting democrat because the civil rights act, voting rights act, and many of the members of congress -- >> which more republicans as a percentage voted for than democrats. >> we vote on interest. we vote on interest. republican or not. why would we vote for people that call our parents criminals?
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kwlou say you can't admit you're wrong on the fact of food stamps. i think newt gingrich has tried to reach out to african-americans and said, there is another party. there's another set of policies that work better for the american family, including the african-american family. that there are better schools. that there's a way to prosperity. there's a way to earn a paycheck. there's a way to get ahead in life. it doesn't mean dmendi ingdepene democratic party for handouts. he hasn't brought it from in from the white perspective. he brought it in to appeal for african-americans that they can vote a different way. republicans may have good intentions, but your policies fail and our policies work. >> what is his policy? rep rimanding them saying they don't have role models is a policy. saying the only things they see is crime is a policy? what is his policy?
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>> let me tell you a story about role models. >> no, why don't you tell me what the policies are? >> you asked me about role models. i would like to answer the question. how about role models. we just showed this movie red tails. you know who showed up, military families? you know what color they were? they were frern american. they brought their kids. you know why? finally hollywood made a movie with patriotic african-americans part as history. you know why they showed up? because they don't have any. >> no, they have many. they have doctors. they have lawyers. >> sure they do. but hollywood doesn't show that. you know what they get on msnbc is race baiting. >> that is why i know that he's demagoguing. he knows better than that. he knows that parents are trying to get their children an education. he went and met with them. then he flips the scripts and acts like he doesn't exist.
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>> al, you're arguing with yourself. i'm agreeing with you. >> no, you're not. >> yes. >> no, you're trying to rationalize something that is irrational. mr. gingrich has not laid out a policy. he's tried to use us as a back board to score what he perceives as far right wing voters. it's unfair and beneath what he said he was trying to do. it's hard enough. sure. >> i just don't see it that way. i'm saying i think newt gingrich is trying to make a genuine appeal. i've works on latino outreach as a republican because i think they have a home in the republican party. i've done that for ten years. so has newt gingrich. i don't think he's changed any of his views about that or is trying to appeal to some segment. if you can't win across the board on american values, that includes african-americans,
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hispanics, asian, whatever. you know, we're all americans. we share a common culture. and it includes hard work, playing by the rules, and an even playing field to get ahead. an equal opportunity to get ahead. that's all we're asking for. >> rick, in terms of bringing us back to where we started, this is the reason i ask the question in the first place and why it's worth talking about. you've worked on african-american outreach for the party. a lot of good americans have done that. i think nobody has set that outreach back further than newt gingrich as a national leader, getting a lot of national attention this year, looking at african-american role models of achievement in the country. the first african-american president in the country, calling him the entertainer in chief and the food stamp president. there's been nothing more racially divisive from a national republican in the past five years than what newt gingrich has done, and i think you know how damaging it is, and i would like you to say something that's not about msnbc, about what newt gingrich has done. >> look, msnbc is very generous to me. i'm not trying to pan the
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network. i'm just saying i hear a lot of race bading. and i'm going to defend it. newt does not -- newt is not trying to appeal to ea lower angels of our nature. it just offends me when someone says -- because i know newt gingrich. he's worked very hard to attract all kinds of people from latinos, african-americans, al, you know he's worked with you on education. >> which is why what he's saying now is not what he said then. and you yourself said al sharpton. you don't like my answer since you asked it. and i do agree with rachel. he really brought race into this. i do not agree that he's appealing to it. >> you brought race in this. >> certainly not no angels. it's real devilish to say you're appealing the people by calling them food stamp people and
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calling their parents criminals and saying they have no role models. that's not appealing. >> okay. >> what republican -- you criticize democratic anti-poverty programs. and it's true the war on poverty as declared by lyndon johnson was not terribly successful. >> failed. >> you say republican anti-poverty proolicies have worked. please name to me the republican anti-poverty policy that has lifted people out of poverty and tell me how many people were lifted out of policy by republican policy? >> there hasn't been a program. we've not had a new deal a great deal, a great society. those have always been rejected. everybody in america -- we have a common culture.
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you play by the rules. >> people prospered in those years. people prospered in the years. including african-americans. >> african-americans were doubly unemployed under every one of them. show us the program that you had that you claimed work. >> lower taxes, more freedom, and free enterprise. that's the program. >> rick tyler. winning our super pac. i feel like we have gone rounds tonight. it was fun. thank you for being with us. we're going to continue is this conversation with chris matthews, michael steel and eugene robinson from miami.
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our coverage of the republican florida primary continues. one interesting fact to follow up on. chris observed in a newt gingrich speech tonight that he exhibited in chris' terms no grace towards mitt romney. chris said he did not notice if mr. gingrich conceded, in fact, that he had lost the florida primary to mr. romney. mr. gingrich did not make a concession, and in fact, mr. gingrich did not call mr. romney tonight to congratulate him on the victory, although we know from the speeches that both ron paul and rick santorum did. let's go back to miami and chris matthews. chris? >> i think that's consistent, rachel, with love is all around us tonight. we brought in two experts here. gene robinson, "washington post" and former chair of the republican national committee. both are msnbc political analysts and valued colleagues. my reaction, michael, i told you was i had the same reaction that our colleagues had on hearing
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the him call the commander in chief the al green tribute homage that president obama did the other night. i guess i associate newt gingrich with an attitude towards the hinges. you don't agree? >> i don't agree. i just thought -- my hats off to rick. it's tough to come into this environment to defend something you had nothing to do with to explain it, number one. but we need to get past seeing race behind every word. >> but the food stamp thing you saw, didn't you? >> look, as i said before, and i've said this very clearly. the republican party needs to be clear in how it expressions its positions on issues with respect to the black community. you cannot broad assumptions that when you start to have conversations about poor education, welfare and all the like that you immediately jump to black. particularly when you look at a place like iowa where that was not the case. that's a correction that can be
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made. on the other side of it we have to also be a little bit more judicious in making those leaps because i heard the same thing. no different if he was singing bing crosby. the point is you were entertaining. not specifically because you're black and al green is black. for me it was more of a stretch. i understand what al and others were saying. but i commend rick for trying his best to sort of put it in context. but that was a tough thing to do. and i thought it took more energy than was necessary. >> let me jump in on this. i have written in the "washington post." i have accused gingrich of race baiting with the food stamp president line. >> we had to touch all the bases. are you with me on al green or not? >> at the time i didn't hear it. thinking about it, it's been mentioned, i still didn't hear it.
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but i do think it was fair to ask rick tyler about it, however. that's his guy. >> by the way, technically, of course, it's not his guy. the real world we live in it is his guy. >> independent for gingrich. but he's supporting gingrich for president. and he was asked not only about al green, but but also the food stamps. when he attacked on race baiting. it's always true. i grew up with listening to it on the republican side. >> when bill clinton had his soldier move moment, was that a racial moment? >> yeah. >> okay. but no one read it that way. everyone applauded.
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>> south carolina primary four years ago. i wrote about that, too. it is his fault all the time. let's get off the race for a second onto the race. that's the question of mitt romney. when he looks ats the numbers that tamron hall came up with, is he going to make moves? 41% say he's too liberal. 38% say they're looking for mr. or mrs. right and haven't shut up yet. >> that's a big number. >> which one is the biggest? the one that he's too liberal or not mr. right? >> that's a big number. after four contests that's a lot of folks still saying not seeing it. hats off, but they need to do more.
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>> the most fascinating thing was chuck todd on the counties. >> by the way, the food stamp line was working up north there, wasn't it? >> they are more like alabama and georgia than they are like south florida. how do have an establishment republican party who doesn't have the support of the party? >> moi, back to you, rachel. >> when rereturn, we're going to talk with a rick santorum supporter about why the former pennsylvania senator is vowing to fight on. in my opinion he seemed very convincing, even though he finished far back in the pack at third tonight. he says he's staying in. we'll find out why and what his plans are.
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you know what, in florida newt gingrich had his opportunity. he came out of the state of south carolina. he came out with a big win and a lot of money. and he said i'm going to be the conservative alternative. i'm going to be anti-mitt. and it didn't work. he became the issue.
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we can't allow our nominee to be the issue in the campaign. >> that's third place finisher, former pennsylvania senator rick santorum. right now with 95% of the vote in florida tonight, rick santorum with 13% of the vote. he's ahead of ron paul who is in single digits. but mitt romney is the big winner with 14% of the vote. newt gingrich in second. the headline tonight, other than mitt romney winning appears to be that nobody is getting out of the race. state representative scott plakin is a florida republican who supports rick santorum for president. thank you for your time tonight. we really appreciate it. >> thanks for having me on. here's a quandary for the campaign. polls last week showed your candidate, mr. santorum, is the most liked candidate in the florida race. 65% of likely voters are viewing him favorably. then he comes in a distant third place tonight. even the voter who is liked him, only 15% said they would vote
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for him. what's the distance between liking rick santorum and not voting for him? >> well, first of all, governor romney should get congratulations for tonight. i know speaker gingrich didn't call to congratulate him, but i will. i think the difference there is, yes, he is very well liked and you can see it in the crowds. the problem is the question of can he win? but if you look at what happened tonight and what's happening with speaker gingrich, just as senator santorum said, i think he had his shot. he seems to be in decline now. i think perhaps what they're seeing is there's one consistent conservative in the race, and it's rick santorum. i think as people get know him better, particularly republican voters, they're going to see what i see in senator santorum, a person that has been consistent in his values and be a good contrast to president obama. >> lot of candidates who are not consistent over time capture the hearts of voters. the flip-flop allegation hurts more as a matter of character than a matter of policy.
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i'm wondering whether or not mr. santorum is using the issue of character against mr. gingrich when he described him in the sound bite you just saw there as making himself the issue. he said mr. gingrich had a chance. he made himself the issue. and the republican party doesn't need that in their nominee. is that a shot at mr. gingrich's character? >> well, i wouldn't say it's a direct shot at the character. it is true. if you look at the debate in jacksonville the other night, i thought a real moment when he shined was when the two were bickering over things that don't matter to the future of our country. he said stopped and acknowledged me. let's talk about the great challenges of the country. i would see it in the debate just after that. i think it will follow through to the future states. >> i think the problem with the santorum campaign is it's his
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first time. and republicans do not vote for a candidate who is running the first time. the only time they did that since dwight eisenhower who had to end world war ii in order to achieve that is george w. bush, whose father was president. if your father isn't president, republicans won't vote until the second time around. and it's starting to sound to me like that is what rick santorum is playing for. he just said he's the anti- -- he wants to be the anti-mitt, which means he doesn't want to be on the ticket. he wants to stand up four years for now and say i was the guy you liked four years ago, and he wants to get his start really as a front-runner four years for now. >> oh, i think that would be completely misreading him. i was with him all day friday and spoke to him over the weekend, and he's in this to win it. and i know he looks like the underdog right now, but i think that conservative message will come through. and one thing that may be different and you guys know a lot more about history than i
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do, i'll acknowledge that. but i know that with social networking now, perhaps the old paradigms of getting your name out and getting people to know you may be different. so you look at. >> congratulations on your presidential candidate's returns tonight. we thank you for being with us. >> thank you. >> santorum's spokesperson is a nice guy. they're likable, that santorum group. >> they are. i really like rick santorum. i don't agree with rick santorum on anything. anything! but i think that his speech tonight was an effective one. i thought it made news. it was hard edged. i thought it was effective. i don't know. >> agree. >> we'll see. >> when wen return, final thoughts on this panel. msnbc's coverage of the florida primary continues right after this. stay with us.
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welcome back to our coverage of the florida republican primary. after tonight nevada caucuses on saturday. the main caucuses start on saturday. from february 4th through 11th. we have the colorado caucuses. the minnesota caucuses. the missouri primary. to be followed by the missouri caucus. then we've got c-pac.
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then we have a debate february 22nd. then we have the arizona primary. then we have michigan primary. as we look forward to the rest of the race what changed? mitt romney just won florida. what changed that was not true before tonight? >> well, it is no small thing that newt gingrich didn't call him to say congratulations. that's a big deal. this is the fourth contest and the relationship has deterior e deteriorated where there's no phone calls.courtesy isson. republicans have a real risk of the front-runner, mitt romney, his unfavorables being driven up over in long stretch. if you're a republican focused on beating the president, you
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have to be concerned with the tone and tenor of the campaign. >> the majority of the republican voters voted against mitt romney. that was after he bombarded the state with money. more than he spent. more than john mccain spent. combined 50% more than all the republican candidates spent in florida four years ago. sfl that is one of the big things. he wasn't blown out tonight. he still is talking to the base. before south carolina, it was personal for mitt. it's really personal now. i don't see newt gingrich ever
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supporting mitt romney about what has happened in florida. he's going to stay in. i think santorum is going to stay. i think tonight that mr. romney was able to edge out a victory. it was a good size. as long as they keep behaving the way they're behaving, the president can keep going the way he's going. and we move onto nevada with the same cost and confusion. >> steve schmidt expects total war to be the next stage of this campaign. >> it could get worse. >> no one is out of the race, and i think newt gingrich was being racest when he called him entertainer in chief and told him to stop singing. thank you to steve schmidt.
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i'm rachel maddow. appreciate you spending your evening with us.
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good evening. i'm chris matthews in miami, florida. tonight mitt romney scored a big win in an important primary. nbc projects he's secured a strong double-digit lead. romney outspent gingrich by four to one bombarding him. this was an important win after a big loss in south carolina. the question tonight, what damage has romney done to himself in the process? polls show independent voters
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increasingly turned off to romney and the results of an all out negativity of this campaign is not going to help. florida was the first swing state to vote this year. what momentum would it give romney, if any? and how much damage has it done to newt gingrich. it's a long way to go between now and coming back here to tampa at the end of the summer. howard fineman is an msnbc political analyst and editorial director. let's talk about newt, he's far more interesting than romney. he goes away snarling tonight. he did not endorse. he did not support. he did not congratulations. he did not concede tonight. what's that going to mean? >> well, what it means is a long campaign. it was going to be long mathematically anyway, but now it's going to be long as a
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matter of intention, especially from newt gingrich and his ally, ron paul, who is going to do well in the upcoming caucuses. what i saw in newt gingrich was an amazing combination of delusion and defiance. delusion in the sense that he detailed in almost, you know, lunatic specificity the first days of his administration. what he was going to eat. what he was going to sign. but he was doing that to make a point. which is he thinks big thoughts and he thinks in the long term. not only was the guy is going to try to take it all the way to the convention, but a guy who will be difficult to get in the convention. once he's in the convention will difficult to keep in the convention. he said a people's campaign directly between him and the people. that means if he's not satisfied with romney, if he doesn't win, if he country get what he wants in the convention, which he won't, he's going to threaten -- i'm telling you, he's going to threaten to go outside the party and create as much havoc as he
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can as a third party. or independent candidate. >> go ahead john because we have a picture here. let me ask me your thoughts about this. is this guy doing what ted kennedy did? he says i'm going to write a contract with the voters. is he going to hold the scriptures and say if you don't agree with my stuff, i'm the real conservative and you're just a pretender. >> i like you use the words scripture. i always think of with newt, people say the good newt and the bad newt. i think of old testament newt and new testament newt. the old testament newt is about vengeance and scorn. we saw that in like the first two-thirds of the speech. then there's the new book of newt. the book of revelations. it's kind of the crazy prophetic apocalyptic. well, cocktails at 12 and lunch at 12:30. the people's campaign thing is really important. what has happened is there's now a skirts and skins game. the establishment versus the glass roots. the managerial class versus the populous.
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and newt is throwing down with the populous grass roots outside the establishment. this is a people's campaign. not a bob dole campaign. not an rnc campaign. he's trying to rally the people. >> the very division goes back all through the division of the party. newt is grabbing the other half he didn't win tonight. here's gingrich talking about people power. let's listen. >> now you might ask, how can that be true? i'll give you the answer. it was stated at a historic moment in 1863 a in dedicating our first national military cemetery. by the president of the united states, abraham lincoln who said we have government of the
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people, by the people, for the people. and we're going to have people power defeat money power in the next six months. >> you know, we have evidence he may have a case here. 41% of the people backing mitt romney or of the party say he's too liberal. is newt here offering to be that guy who is still to come in the race? >> loob at what mitt romney did get. he got a big vote. he didn't get a majority. >> swept the panhandle. >> but newt gingrich swept the panhandle, the southern part of the state and the north. but if you add up newt gingrich and ron paul and rick santorum, it's still a majority compared with mitt romney. so newt's calculation is h won't say much nasty at all if it
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weren't for the issue of the middle east and so forth they would be soul mates in the entirety, really. and newt is going to just keep driving it. >> let's get the exit polling from tamron hall. tamron, take it away. >> hey there, chris. mitt romney beat newt gingrich among most voter groups in our exit poll. but romney still has weaknesses that could be significant going forward. let's take a look. we start by looking at where he did well. among moderates, you see mitt romney there. his strengths are 62% with that group of voters. people who make over $200,000. strong there as well. those families supporting him 60% there. 59% in the latino vote. mostly cubans in that community. and for those who don't support
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the tea party, romney's numbers are at 57% of support there. romney's problems can be seen with the more conservative parts of the republican base. voters split eventually between those who call themselves very conservative versus those who say they are somewhat conservative. and gingrich beat romney by 11 points. and finally the exit poll included other hints about where romney might need to improve. take a look at this. 41% of voters said romney's positions on issues are not conservative enough. and nearly as many, 38%, said they would still like to see someone else run for the nomination. that includes 37% of romney's own voters. chris, you mentioned that. it remains to be seen if weaknesses like those are enough to stop mitt romney from winning the republican presidential nomination. you hit home with the numbers regarding those who still want another candidate out there. even those people who voted for
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romney today. >> tamron hall, thank you for that. those are the key numbers. that 41% who don't think he's conservative enough. 38% still looking for mr. right or mrs. right to come along. how does romney identify that problem and deal with it? >> romney has got to figure out a positive message that appeals to conservative voters. >> how does he win their heart? >> if i had an answer i would work for the romney campaign. but he's not trying to appeal to their heads or their hearts. you see his stump speeches and they are idea free exercises. there's nothing there. he's very good at attacking. in 2008 when he attacked it turned off voters. he can win by attacking. but in the end in a party that's riveted the way the party is and a party where he needs the
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conservative enthusiasm if he's the nominee, he must come up with some kind of a big idea that gets conservatives. there's a larger number than with him now. >> john is right. there's no conservative idea or vision that animates this. >> why doesn't he have the 9-9-9? >> that's a very good question. he needs something that people can identify with as a core conservative idea. beyond merely attacking the president, which is what he does, he thinks merely attacking the president will somehow win him conservative votes. but the combination of attacking the president and attacking newt gingrich has left him in a position where he won down here with more than a third of the people who voted for him, wishing that other candidates were in the race. and to me that's an astonishing number. >> it's hard to vote for an executioner. let's listen to this. an overwhelmingly campaign in florida. 92% of the ads were negative. less than 1 positive. mitt romney vowed the republican party will be united. he had to. he's only saying he will. let's listen.
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>> as this primary unfolds, our opponents in the other party have been watching. and they like to comfort themselves with the thought that a competitive campaign will leave us divided and weak. but i've got news for them. a competitive primary does not divide us. it prepares us. and we will win. and when we gather back here in tampa seven months from now for our convention -- [ cheering ] ours will be a united party with a winning ticket for america. >> well, there you go. a united party with a winning ticket. but it's certainly not united tonight. the man looks like he's out the hall of the presidents. there's something mechanical about that. something not spirited or inspired. i'm going back to the same question i'm going to leave the audience with tonight.
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this guy didn't get the head. he didn't get the gut. newt got the gut. is he going to get the heart ever of the party? >> i think the motion na a competitive primary keeps them prepared. it's almost the definition of the wish being the father o the thought. i'll put a pin in something that's happening next week as a round about way. a conservative political action committee is gathering next week in the middle of the republican primary campaign. every current and former republican presidential candidate in the cycle will be there. rick perry, michele bachmann, herman cain, newt gingrich, mitt romney, and on the closing speech, sarah palin. this is a very influential group of republicans. these are from outside washington and inside washington. >> will they just trash obama? >> they will. but you'll see a lot of the issues that are currently alive litigated. and mitt romney will be in front of the most important activists. real grass roots activists. he has a chance to give a big speech.
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that could -- i'm not saying he will. i'm saying he has a chance. this is a big opportunity for them. will he do it? i don't know. >> having covered a lot of the cpacs over the years, and they are really in a way the core of the modern conservative movement and republican party. the unifying theme of that event is going to be can mitt romney convince us? can he pacify us? i predict the answer will be no. the answer is going to be no. thank you, coming up now, gingrich vows to stay in the race until the bitter end. is that good for the republican party? i don't think so. is it good for the republican party? i don't think so. msnbc's coverage of the florida primary continues in a minute. this is a special edition of hardball. live from the roof of the children's museum on watson island. >> it is now clear that this will be a two-person race
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between the conservative leader newt gingrich and the massachusetts moderate.
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we are going to contest
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we are going to contest every place. we are going to win. we will be in tampa as the nominee in august. welcome back to the special late night edition of hardball. former rnc chair michael steele. and "washington post" columnist you ge eugene robinson. we have a lot to talk about tonight. this race is only the second one for romney to win, gene. he won them with the support of his neighbors up in new hampshire and now southern florida, basically. he got beaten to hell in the panhandle in the southern part of the state, when he was actually in the north.
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he hasn't proven he's got the heart and soul of the party. >> no. he hasn't won the heart and soul of the republican party. it's a southern based party. when it wins presidential elections it wins its base and it also wins suburbs around the city. it wins the reagan democrats. that's how it is in presidential elections. but you got to have your base. and romney hasn't connected with the voters. and they did it in south carolina. and they did it in the florida panhandle. >> i guess the question, mike, can a guy from the georgia doughnut basically be mr. south? he seemed to be writing the scriptures of conservatism. all the concerns for obama care to dodd-frank. he went through an amazing hit list of thick things right wingers and conservatives generally don't like all the way from the hawkish pro-israelis.
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he will be onto different regulations. >> he reminded conservatives what from a policy standpoint what this race should have been about. not what you just witnessed in florida with the negative ads, but what we should have been talking about going forward. let me tell you two things are going to happen. one, i think you're going to see both newt and santorum begin a move on health care. i think the two of them are going to come out of florida. that's the one achilles heel that has not been explored effectively. so is rick santorum. he's already ahead in nevada. they're releasing a new commercial there starting tonight. late tonight, tomorrow morning. so you're going to see them begin to play on different fields. so romney is now going to have to do one of those dance over here, dance over there. while he's also going to front what will be an on slot on health care. >> he has to keep moving and
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he has to play defense on the right. he can't go after obama yet. >> and newt set it up with a litany of policy that the party should talk about. >> reminds me of ted kennedy when he was losing to carter. he realized i better make this about philosophy. not about who i am. if he lays down a philosophical case against romney and i says i'm the conservative, can he win it? can he win the case? >> he can make a case. he can keep the party in turmoil for months and months. he can go to the convention. a couple of things on romney's sides here. number one, we're dealing with newt gingrich. newt gingrich, who is in constancy itself. he can be brilliant. he can be terrible in debates. >> what did you make of his manifesto tonight? >> i thought it was fascinating. i thought it was a very good speech. >> he nailed everything. he went through the executive orders he would sign. he went through bills he would sign.
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>> that's not every outing for newt gingrich. so romney can count on that. second thing. in all the problems that romney confronts going ahead. he just won a mega state. he won florida. he won it by 50 points. that's a big deal. he won ugly. >> if you were overseeing the writing of the headline this in tomorrow morning's "washington post," your paper, it would be romney wins. but would there be a sub text that says he wins dirty? >> it would be gingrich insurgency still not squashed, or something like that. >> would it be -- you don't have to. but as a party man, gingrich refused to concede tonight. everybody concedes when they lose. he didn't. >> i think that was the personal
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moment for newt. you think about it. $30 million spent against this man in iowa and florida. at some point it becomes personal. i think that was the moment. i'm not calling it. >> i'm not jumping over the net. >> not doing it. not doing it. that lays down to your point. in the mind, the base, you really don't like this guy. you don't like this guy. >> you've covered this. what is it about newt? maybe just envy. it could be just envy. that's normal behavior. nobody who campaigns against mitt romney ends up liking him. >> no. >> you're laughing, but that's always true. >> not just mccain. the entire field in 2008. he's a christian believer. >> there's something about the guy that draws this out of his opponents.
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his problem, and i think it's why you see his numbers the way they were with the base as a whole, 40 some percent tonight, saying not really is that they also pick up that vibe. so he's got to figure out, his team has got to figure out how they suppress the vibe, however he is giving it off, to let people know there's a warm fuzzy side that's going to be important for him going forward. >> there is a fuzzy side to whom? mitt romney? >> no, i'm saying he has to show that there is. it will be a showdown. >> he's got to say something. he has to say something that connects with the audience. it's got to be more than i can beat obama. >> sounds like a lot of fun. that's over in arlington. anyway. thank you, michael steele. thank you, gene robinson. up next, the obama campaign
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learned about mitt romney and how will they use the information tonight against him. a lot of info coming out of the campaigns and exit polling and the way these people voted. not a great weekend for mitt romney. but he did win. he did win. we'll be right back. the democrats won the special election in oregon for the open house seat. we'll be back with more of the special edition of hardball tonight from miami.
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mr. president, you were elected to lead. you chose to follow. now it's time for you to get out of the way. >> this promises to be a long and ugly battle for the
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republican nomination, the obama campaign is gearing up about who they expect to face. it looks like they expect to face mitt romney. we have steve schmidt and author and historian, jonathan alter. gentlemen, let's talk about taxes here. as part of the vetting for vice president the last time around in 2008 do you know your campaign, the mccain campaign thought of the tax returns? did they pass muster, and who has copies of them? >> you know, chris, to take you back four years ago on the vetting process, i wasn't part of the vetting team. i didn't see the information. they are available. they are passive. you can turn them over to the mccain campaign.
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you can certainly turn them over to the public now. >> i think the campaign can turn over as much as they want to turn over. i don't know how far back he keeps his taxes. he turned over a year's worth to the mccain campaign. he's going to be called onto disclose as much of this as has ever been disclosed before, and it's going to be an issue he has to deal with for the duration of his campaign. >> i know one thing i think about this campaign and one success of the campaign coming
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out of the occupy movement, as limited as it was, jonathan, it seems historically it's raised the issue of the very top people in the country economically and the advantages they have with regard to the political structure. it seems to me this money in the he's the poster boy of not just what occupy wall street is against. it's less complicated. poster boy of whatnot just occupy wall street is against, because they're going to get discredited by the time the year is over. but what a lot of the american public believes has been unfair in the last 10, 15, even 20 years. it's been getting more than they deserve in a just society. in the past it hasn't worked well for democrats. it has seemed contrary to the
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american dream. actually, obama is more of a pro business pop list, if that's not too much of an oxymoron. his state of the union speech was full of probusiness ideas. >> let me ask you about the republican party. it's not like old money or big money. it's not like the democratic party that's had this sort of cesarean coalition between the people at the bottom and the people at the top. it's more of a middle class party. it's sort of make your own money party. not an old money party. yonk it's like old money people i don't think it's like old money people over time. people like romney. you think they're going to get excited about a guy like romney who seems like he inherited the money, no matter how he got it. >> one of the important findings
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is you have 40% of the electorate. another candidate in the race. there was clearly a lack of enthusiasm among a wide section of republicans for both of the two candidates leading in the race. and i think there's a difference between rick santorum's rhetoric on the issues, who is really appealing to a blue collar audience. he really speaks the language in an effective way. ronald reagan was able to communicate to this group of americans. and i think it's important to take the conservative message into blue collar communities. thus far mitt romney habit done that particularly effectively. this is going to be an issue all through the race. all candidates come in with assets. they come in with liabilities. this could be an asset for him. it could be a liability for him. this will be the central ground of his testing in the weeks ahead. and if he's the nominee in the general election.
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>> john, same question to you. as a historian you have written about fdr and the average guy. working on the line out in milwaukee somewhere in a factory. this is the ability to connect. it's not there with the guys. it's not there with these guys. >> you know, democrats like roosevelt and kennedy, buzz because their policies are more directed at working people, they can kind of get away the fact that they didn't come up the hard way. republicans, it really helps if you're self made, like ronald reagan, and you actually came all the way up. if you're born with a silver spoon in your mouth, it's harder for you as george h. w. bush learned. he only got in through the vice presidency. he didn't make it directly to the oval office. so it's been very tough for a
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republican to connect to working class voters when they come from a background that smells of money. >> i agree. i don't think you have the right candidate yet, steve. if i were on that side, i would be thinking, i'm looking for mr. goodbar, too. and i don't see the guy i'm looking for tonight. do you, steve? do you find the guy you're looking for tonight? >> when you look at the race or the president's approval numbers, both parties have a floor of about 47%. i think the republican nominee starts off at 47. i think the president starts off at 47. we're going to be competing over a very, very narrow electorate. and i think that, you know, half the country has the other half of the country totally tuned out. we'll see where all the arguments fall. i think you bring up a great point with fdr. there's a famous photo op where the queen and king of england
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comes to visit at hyde park. he serves him hot dogs. there's a great story about fdr. a grieving man fell to his knees. the guy next to him says, did you know the president? and the guy says, no, i didn't know the president. but he knew me. and that's what you really need. barack obama doesn't have that either with a lot of voters. they don't have the sense that he really knows them and what they're worried about. on another score tonight, i think, chris, if i could just make an unconventional point. i actually think contrary to what the colleagues have been saying that the longer gingrich stays in, the better it is for romney. gingrich's message is that romney is a massachusetts moderate. the more he drills that home and
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imprints that on the minds of voters, the easier it is for mitt romney to appeal to independent who is are more moderate than the voters taking part in these republican primaries. >> i've always thought that. up next a look at the super pac. how they are playing a major role in the determining the nominee. we have new information about the rich billionaire whose money is shaping this republican fight. you're watching it a late night edition of hardball on msnbc. a competitive primary does not divide us, it prepares us. and we will win.
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welcome back to a late night edition of hardball. we're finally able to get a look at who some of the biggest money people are behind the biggest super pacs. especially those financing the negative ads out of romney michael isikoff, let me ask you this. all this negative advertising,
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something like 92% of which is negative. $24 million spend down here in the last few days. who is paying for the romney piece of this? >> funny you should ask, chris. we just learned that restore our future held back the filing with the fec, which was required by midnight tonight until after romney had given his victory speech. they didn't want to step on it. they didn't want attention. easy to see why. $7.9 million during the last six months of the year. that makes them by far the biggest presidential super pac that we know about. newt gingrich only raised 2.1 before they got that money in january. and the obama super pac, priorities usa, only $4.4 million. far below the ambitious goals they had set. then you look at the list and
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really see how with the super pacs we get the billionaire donors who can pump enormous amounts of money. seven separate million dollar checks came in from -- to that romney super pac. a lot of wall street hedge fund guys. a lot of energy guys. bill coke of the coke brothers fame kicked in a million dollars. >> wonderful, and. >> and then there's a very strange one from idaho. a devout mormon who run a wellness company under the name of malucha, that contributed a million dollars. but we're going to have a lot of fun over the next few days looking at this list. trying to figure out who these people are and what their angles are. it's clear they had a big impact on the election.
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>> the problem in terms of ethics is mitt romney and the people running the government if he gets elected president all know who brought the money in here. he knows who they are now. he helped them get elected. these are supposed to be independent groups. they don't know what the other is doing. and then you have romney pitching donors, telling them to give to the super pac. once you do that, the idea that they're truly independent is pretty -- it evaporates quickly. and now we see who these donors are. and look, we're going to see a lot more. and i expect the obama super pac will be having plenty of donors down the future. it's notable the amounts of money they raised are far less than a lot of us anticipated.
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about the most notable was $100,000 from steven spielberg. >> i was just watching this. were you stunned tonight that newt gingrich only -- thank you. his only gee whiz was to move the embassy off a long list of things to do. that's not exactly a barrage of nice thoughts for the conservative guy that cares about the mideast, was it? that's all he gave him. >> he's been consistent on that. he's been saying that. and he's been the recipient for the last -- for the last five years. one interesting footnote to this. we did learn from the new filing from winning our future, the
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gingrich super pac, that even before the $10 million, another million dollars had already come in from three other family members of sheldon adelson. all listed from the same address at the hotel in vegas. thank you, michael isikoff. you're the best. let's go to rick tyler. he was on earlier. he's a pro gingrich guy. rick, let me ask you a couple questions about you guy tonight. i know you can't coordinate with him. you talked to him. you're his friend. what is he up to now? is he going to try to win in the next couple weeks. is he going to take losses in february and hope he can get through the conservative southern states in march. he had mitt romney, the
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moderate, versus newt gingrich the conservative. it's something that we can win. >> those list of things he promised to do tonight, it did look like a manifesto. is he doing what ted kennedy did to jimmy carter, saying i may not win the fight but i'm going to be the guy who stands for party principle. is he going to be conservative ideologue against what he sees as -- well, the opportunist on the other side? >> no. i think newt gingrich believes he has a genuine shot at the nomination. and he's going to fight through. and as was mentioned, there are at least 46 more states to go. i think there are more than that because of the territories involved, too. but we're going to fight it out state by state. we'll see who shows up at the convention in august. are you sure if the other guy wins the nomination that newt is behind it.
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will he insist the guy sign off on his manifesto before he does that? >> no, i've known newt a long time. newt ran as a republican in 1974 when you couldn't get your trash picked up in georgia as a republican. and he's always been a party person. he's not going to leave the party. he wants to build up the party and not lead up the party. >> let me ask you about the results tonight. they seem to be a function of two failed debate performances by newt. were you surprised he didn't bring the fight to mitt romney on those two occasions? >> i did think there was an expectation going into the debates. i think mitt romney was told, you know, you've got to make
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newt mad. all the surrogates said newt is very angry and hostile. i've never known him to be that way. but he did get angry. so in that sense mitt romney failed. but i thought they were okay debate performances. you know, even the hall of famers, you know, don't hit the ball two out of three times. >> i got to tell you a bit of history. richard nixon before i went into the debate with jack kennedy. he won every debate before that. he was told to erase the assassin image. in other words go soft on this guy. he blew it. it seems to be the fighter of a fight. that's just my thinking. if you don't fight, don't expect to win. rick, it's great to have you on the show. have a good night. >> totally agree with you. thanks, chris. appreciate it. >> people that advise to go soft are losers. >> up next, will the score card strategy spread out west to nevada? will mitt keep buying big negative ads to pummel and destroy his opponent?
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we're back with a live special edition of "hardball" tonight from miami, florida. on the beautiful top of a building here. anybody want to come to florida? come to florida. it's great weather. tonight the attention turns to nevada which holds caucuses this coming saturday.
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newt gingrich will make a strong play for the first western state of the primary season. and a former senate candidate in nevada and a gingrich supporter. i want to go to sue out of favoritism here, john. excuse me for a minute. let me ask you about gingrich here. he lost here. totally negative campaign against him. just relentless carpet bombing at this guy. no positives for mitt romney. just all negative on this guy. 92% of the ads here. can they do it in nevada? can they do it again against your candidate? >> they're already doing it. he's being bombarded already, which is bad news for newt gingrich, but, of course, good news for our economy, which is so bad here that we have all these new tv commercials airing. but it's going to be a very negative campaign here in nevada as well. >> you probably say as a former
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tv star that you like all that advertising, but what does it say about the future of this nomination fight if it's all going to be negative against newt until he's removed from the face of the earth politically? it seems like that's the strategy of romney. pulverize this guy until he quits the race. >> i agree. that's what it looks like is going to happen. and it's unfortunate because all of us who are trying to vote here in the caucus on saturday want to hear from the candidates. where are they going? what is the future of our country? what do they have? wh rick santorum arrived with a lot of publicity. >> let me go to john for an objective look at this thing. it seems that your state is going to do what?
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you have lds support for romney, mormon church people out there. what else do they have that would help him do well? >> well, it's the money that he has again. the mormons are only about 7 bank account of the population, but, last time in 2008, exit polls showed they were close to a quarter of the vote. although i think that was a little inflated, too. but he has the organization here. he's been running for president for years. he never left his organization after 2008. he's got that. and he's got money. you mentioned the negative campaign. just today on the day of the florida primary, the nevada republicans have a mailer in their boxes that said newt spells trouble. sue mentioned the ads that are already going on from both the super pac. i'm a little astounded that everyone seems so shocked that the campaign is so negative. as if the previous campaigns weren't. ask sue about the 2010 senate
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race here. the 2008 campaign, as i remember, was pretty negative, too. but to your point, yes, they're going to pulverize gingrich. you know they want him out of the race. >> but, john, again, the question, how do you get people to vote in the general election for mitt romney if he spends all his money again in nevada trashing his opponent and not selling his heart. how does he win the heart -- i hate to be romantic about this, but how do you win the hearts of conservative republicans by just smashing your opponent? >> i guess the answer to that is, and while i appreciate the romantic notion, the fact is that so many republicans, and they hope enough independents, are so negative about president obama that they can do whatever they want in the primary and they'll still vote for him in the general. i'm not saying that's going to work, and as you know, chris, from the recent polls, it's turning around with independents because of what's gone on in this republican primary. romney's negatives have gone way up with independents. so obama is doing better now
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with independents. so i think it's a risky strategy. but they're counting on the negativity towards obama. >> what a statement about the situation. thanks for that account. john and sue, it's great having you on, sue. and that's it for our late night special edition of "hardball". msnbc's coverage of the florida primary continues in a minute.
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♪ ♪ ♪ former massachusetts governor, mitt romney, projected by nbc news to win big in florida tonight. after a hard-fought and almost uniformly negative campaign. >> a competitive primary does not divide us, it prepares us, and we will win. >> 50 delegates up for grabs tonight. more than any other contestness far, but literally written on his podium, newt gingrich a
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distant second, already telegraphing another number. >> we are going to contest every place and we are going to win, and we will be in tampa as the nominee in august. [ applause ] >> doing his own count tonight from next nominating contest in nevada, an upbeat congressman ron paul. >> tonight i saw a statistic we're in third place when it comes to delegates and that's what really counts. >> that may be what counts, but by our count, sir, you are in fourth place when it comes to delegates. rick santorum also looking ahead to nevada caucuses and races beyond that. also, slimming his opponents for the negative tone of the florida campaign. >> one message i think we got, from the campaign in florida, is that republicans can do better. >> more now from our exit polling tonight in florida, and the challenges that lie ahead
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for mitt romney as he heads into a february of contests that are very different than the ones that just happened in january. we turn now to tam ran hall. >> the nbc exit poll hints at some potential challenges still ahead. for one thing, some of his support is soft. all about six in ten voters are satisfied with the republican field. take a look at this. 38% say, they would like it see someone else run or get the nomination. and that includes 37% of romney's own voters. another weakness, many republican primary voters question his conservative credentials. take a look at these numbers. 41%. he is not conservative. enough. 47% say his position on the issues are about right. and 6% say, he's too conservative. also, romney has faced questions about how well he connects with average people given that he is one of the wealthiest
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presidential candidates we've seen in history. when asked which of the four candidates best understands the problems of the average american, 34% say romney. that's ahead of newt gingrich's 26%. but, that's eight-point margin is less than rom nooe is winning by tonight. we will keep crunching these numbers and bring you more from the exit poll as we have it rachel. >> thank you. that first number that tameron just gave just blew my mind. usually most commit themselves to a candidate by going out to the polls and voting for them. you see the proportion of voters who want someone else to enter the race go down. we are seeing four in ten florida republican voters still want somebody else to enter the race. how is that possible, now that we are four races into this. let's go back down to chris man matthewes who is in miami. chris, am i overreacting to this? doesn't this seem like an unusually high number.
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>> you know, i was thinking of the lyric, "falling in love again." and they are not getting used to romney, they are accepting him. they are not growing accustom to his face either. that's not working. i think that's a hard thing for them. he did not instill love. he did not run positive ads about himself down here. he doesn't seem to be happy. i don't know if you agree with me rachel, but ron paul looks like he is having the time of his life and he got 7% tonight. i envy vi this guy. he has the greatest job out there. he says whatever occurs to him. no matter how whacky, audience goes nuts. says the most obscure things and they love him even more for it. he talks about fed policy and he has people 20 years old going nuts for it. i think he is the winner in terms of life here. romney is learning this, as i said, like a dog learns tricks. he is not getting any kick out of it. he is chasing the bone or whatever he chases the ball,
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whatever they tell him do. but there's no love for him or by him. i tell you, it's interesting. i don't think that santorum is having the time of his life either. mitt's certainly not. who is enjoying this campaign? ron paul. that is your best observation, i got tonight. the guy who has in prayer if the world. he's probably not a republican, as lawrence says all the time. yet, he seems to be enjoyinging this process. why isn't newt -- sorry, why isn't mitt romney happy? because he is running a completely dirt ball campaign that nobody on earth would be proud of. not him, not any winner. he ran a loser's campaign tonight in florida. he smashed the other guy with negative. and he didn't have the good grace to say one good thing about himself. as a result, if you heard a few moments ago, newt gingrich didn't show him the slightest bit of grace tonight. i don't even think he conceded. i may be wron wrong. i may have plmissed the line.
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there was no grace in victory or defeat. the one guy who won, the happiest guy on the planet, ron paul. because set only one saying what he believes. >> chris, thank you. i think you are totally right to zoom in on the happiness of ron paul. if only because it is the most palpable emotion you get from any of these candidates at any one time. i think do you get some emotion pr rick santorum on the stump but we did not see that tonight. what ytalking about ron paul, with policy, and people going nuts. ron paul did less of that and newt gingrich went for it. going into the -- well, into ron paul, from newt gingrich ---like there is a cross-over. >> not sense dorwood ding el norwood that al gore talked about with w. at the time. everybody in the world says, what a ding el berry. sorry i said that.
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>> thank you, chris. let's check back in with chuck todd, who is looking a the the break down tonight by county. and the importance of florida in the general election. what do you got, cluck? chuck . >> well, number one just look at it right now. or not sj gingrich. green is romney and it tells you why. we told to you for this throughout the night. simply look at northern florida. the margins weren't huge for him in counties that he won. but he won them and this is what he gives him hope that if he gets to mar on super tuesday when there are more northern florida like states, places like alabama, mississippi, even oklahoma, tennessee, this is what gives them hope that if he actually runes a better campaign than this time, he clearly has a base to build on. but the other fascinating part about romney ma margin because he will prove to have more vote and he did it basically in five
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counties. dade, broward and palm beach and pa nellis and hillsboro. waum palm an full fledge. but it is all part of the south florida media market. half of his vote margin came out of here. he won dade county by some 50 point. and it was just an unbelievable margin he kgot out of the south there in tampa. you would think, when you get close to 50%, would you almost win every media market in the state. no, this was a very bottom-heavy victory if you will, for mitt romney. now a couple other things i want to point out. i don't think we learned anything tonight about the general. but there is a fun fact from a florida democratic strategist, steve shale who won obama's florida effort in 2008. to prove why florida is america's swing state, this is the total vote, presidential vote, for the last five presidential elections. the margin is 56,000 votes.
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that's .17%. .17. less than two tenths of one percent separated. two major parties in the last five presidential elections. only colorado actually has a closer total vote of the last five presidentials. but it is just unbelievable. largest democratic margin was clinton in 96. largest rubepublican was bush i 2004. you just see it in the raw total. it is more -- even more of a microcosm of the electorate inside an republican primary. this is the least white republican primary, for instance, well see, until we get perhaps it hawaii. >> in terms of what you said about the spread of the vote in the state, i'm really struck by how many counties newt gingrich won, given will big margin by
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winning the state. what essentially you are saying is that mitt romney did not find a way to broadly appeal geographically across the state. he essentially used organizat n organizational state for other parts of the state he he would otherwise do well. he had huge organizational skill where he would do well anyway but i lost the northern part of the state badly, didn't he some. >> when he looked and saw our wall street journal poll and last week we were talking about why is gingrich ahead nationally and he consolidated the base of the party. sitting, which is southerners, very -- the folks that call themselves very conservative and strong supporters of the tea party. that is somewhere between 30 and 35% of the republican electorate in general. it is a strong base. that is north florida. north florida is, you always joke, the more further north you go in florida, the more south you go as for as you go
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culturally. and that's what newt's strength. so what this map shows is what you just said, h is rm knee still has an issue with the core base conservative. if you believe the party which is still sort of based in the south, a culturally conservative southern party, the heart of the party, not the majority of the party, but it is sort of the largest plurality part of party, if you will, still the heart, that is where gingrich has a foundation to build on. now if he ever could run a campaign to build from there, you see where he can go, you would rather start where newt is starting, if you were starting from scratch. than where romney is starting. harder than a republican primary or any primary to have to win over the base. it is easier to start from the base and win over the moderates and win over the casual members of your party. what romney is actually doing is much harder than what newt should be doing. but romney is tactically running a better campaign. >> that is fascinating. thank you for that.
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appreciate it. i think what chuck went to at end there, if you are looking at the results, even though mitt romney won florida, would you rather be newt gingrich than mitt romney looking that map. do you think that's right, steve? >> i think would you rather be mitt romney overall when you look at money, resources, you look at the trajectory with the goal of securing the nomination. but i thought chuck's analysis of this is brilliant. the problem is that you have someone from massachusetts who is accumulating the delegates, winning the states. when newt gingrich calls him a massachusetts moderate, that's a polite way of calling him a yankee. for all of the southern states that are yet to come. and you have a situation conceivably where gingrich could do very well in georgia, mississippi, in alabama. yet still be the person who is far behind in the delegate count and far behind, you know, in
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second place like tonight for the overall nomination. have you that nominee of the republican party could be someone who is, you know, from outside of its cultural center. that creates great tension in the parties. >> let me say something provocative. but i think it's true. is that why we keep getting racial illusiones from newt gingrich? newt gingrich tonight brought back the food stamps president thing. he's been bringing that up in florida. tonight he went to president obama ought to stop singing, being the entertainener chief. caricaturing him in a way that almost calls out to menstrualcy. ref regard al? >> i think you're right. which is why i brought herman cain back into the conversation because he had no problem with mr. caine. but he is clearly going after a southern mentality with racial illusions and always wrapped around when he refers to the president, when he talks about this food stamp stuff, these are -- newt gingrich is many things, stupid is not one of
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them. he knows exactly what he is saying. he knows exactly who he is playing to. when you look that map, he knows as you deal with the northern border of florida, which is southern alabama and all of the states where they are headed, he knows what card he is playing. and he also knows this, even if he can't run a campaign that is sharp enough to take the nomination, the worst thing that could happen to mitt romney is he would become the leader of that conservative block that mitt romney's got to deal with in tampa that convention. i think that -- i agree with chris. the only guy happy with that would be ron paul. can you imagine if he walks in that convention as leader of the conservative wing of the republican party, with those negotiations are going to look like because newt gingrich is not the kind of guy you want to negotiate with. >> there's two numbers that gingrich is looking at tonight. four in ten people that were surveyed don't think he is
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conservative enough. mitt romney is not conservative enough. four in ten people surveyed want somebody else. i was listening to newt. i was thinking, is this guy thinking of an ind pennant run. >> he is ripping on the establishme establishment. he is talking further right. coding messaging, constantly in his speech. piece by piece. romney is not your guy. i'm your guy. i'm staying in this thing. i have the base of the south. and i just think he is looking at those two big numbers tonight, to keep him going. that's what he is going to sell hard to the people that will possibly write him a check. >> two provocative questions for the gingrich campaign. is it possible he is prepping for a third party candidacy. not ron paul, but newt gingrich. and is he using coded racial language it appeal to white voters in the deep south. very provocative supporters.
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we will pick up with rick tyler from the super pac winning our future, next.
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i'll tell you up front, i won't compete with obama in singing because i'm not running for entertainer in chief, i'm running for president. i would say to him now, mr. president, you cannot sing your way past the disaster of your presidency. >> you know who else sang onts campaign trail yesterday? mitt romney. newt gingrich, not talking about
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that. singling out the president as being bad for sanging. calling him the entertainer in cleef. mitt romney won the state tonight. newt gingrich did surprisingly well in florida's northern counties, the ones that look more like the rest of the south. we are joined once again by rick tyler with the pro newt gingrich winning our future super pac, an aid to the former house speaker. rick, nice to have you back. >> glad to be here. >> we hear, at least ahear, i will spoke andly for myself here, when mr. gingrich talked about entertainer this chief, someone who should stop soing the heels of the country, someone calling him a food stamp president, i hear racially coded language there. i hear under gingrich trying to appeal to southern white conservatives who may be responding to essentially racially biassed coded language about the president that is designed to call on the
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resentment of african-american achievement in the this country. am i wrong to see it that way? >> that's bologna. msnbc ought to get off this race baiting kick. if you want to talk about the republican party, the republican party sta was started by abraham lincoln. six of the nine planks in the platform were -- we can go down this road -- >> what about tonight though? what about -- can you talk about what happened to the parties after civil war and reconstruction and through the past century but when mr. gingrich -- let me just finish the question then i promise i will shut up. >> all right. >> food stamp president, that i will go to the naacp and tell them to be dissatisfied with food stamps and they should demand paychecks and this president is an entertainer in chief and ought to stop singing and deal with the real problems of the country, there is a pattern here of very, i think,
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obviously racially coded language that has nothing to to do with the parties aeb civil war. >> i don't understand this. the parties say newt gingrich haks a little thing and then it is a racist thing. more people or not food stamps today's because of barack obama. can you ask al sharpton. i think would he agree that democrats failed in the public schools with the african-americans. they abort their babies. they have done nothing to lift them out of poverty. i hear all the time that democrats have the great intentions but their policies fail. maybe we have good intentions too. but our policies haven't been tried. how about we just accept that we both have the right intentions for everybody to rise out of poverty. newt talked about that before. and then maybe talk about our policies, check collect a check and vote for democrats. >> that is not what newt gingrich said. newt gingrich is who brought race up in this campaign. >> tell me what he did, al.
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>> i'm getting ready to tell you. he said, and i'm quoting him, that he would go to the naacp and tell black people to stop satisfied with food stampes. he didn't say people, he said black people, don't be satisfied with food stamps. and communities where youngsters that don't have role models. this is whan t he said on the tour, a tour that president obama asked him to go on. he is broad racing the campaign by name. you cannot then turn around and ask like, rachel is bringing up race. wait a minute. i will let you finish but i will finish this part. he brought up race, now you need to answer his bringing up. if he didn't want to deal with race, why did he bring up race. and it is a patent untruth that president obama has more people on food stamps -- more people went on food stamps, new food stamp recipient mr. george bush
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than president obama. would you call him a food stamp president. >> we're not running with george bush. we are running as president obama. >> answer the fact. you just said that obama had more. that is factually incorrect. >> al, 98% of african-americans vote dem krt. okay? what have they gotten for it? poor schools, more neighborhoods, crime-ridden neighborhoods, destruction of the family and democrats want to abort their babies. that's their position. i'm not going to defend that. that's not the republican position. >> black people voted democrat because the civil rights act, voting rights act and many of the members of congress db- >> which democrats -- and more -- >> and republicans wrt abe lincoln party and the party of little rock, we we voted republican like anybody else in america, sir, we vote our interest. republican or not. why would we vote for people that call our parent criminals
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that says that you can't even admit you are wrong on the facts on'food stamps. we're not sadist or masochist. >> i haven't said the republicans have done a good job reaching out to african-americans. i think newt gingrich said there another set of policies working better for the african-american family. there are better schools, a way to prosperity. a way it earn a paycheck. a way to get ahead in life. it doesn't mean looking to the democratic party for hand outs. he brought it in to appeal to african-americans that they might actually vote for a different way. that republicans may have good intentions just like democrat do. but your policies fail and our policies work. >> what is this policy? i mean, reprimanding them, saying they don't have role models in their community is policy? saying the only thing they see is crime is a policy in. >> let me tell you a story. >> what is this policy?
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>> let me tell you a story about role models. >> tell me about policy. why don't you tell me what these policies are. >> you asked me about role models, i would like to and the question. how about role models. we just showed a movie in jacksonville. you know who showed snup? military families. you know what color they were in african-americans. you know who they brought this their family possess. >> they have doctors, lawyers, we have many role models. >> sure when do. but they don't on movies. they have msnbc race baiting. >> he knows that parent are trying to get their children an education. he met with them, then flips the script and acts like they don't
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exist. we have been in the military and many things for many years. "red tail" is telling a story about 70 years ago. >> al, you are arguing with yourself. i'm agreeing with you. >> no you're opinion you are trying to rationalize snomethin that is not rational. mr. gingrich is unfair and beneath what he said he was trying to do before, it really is. >> al, i'm sorry you see it that way. i don't see it that way. >> sorry, go ahead. >> sure. >> i just don't see it that way. i'm just saying that i think newt gingrich is trying to make a genuine appeal. i worked on african-american outreach and latino outreach because i think they have a home in the republican party. i've done that for ten years. so has newt gingrich. i don't think changed any of his views about that or is is trying
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to appeal to some segment. if you can't change your views, we are all-americans, we share a common culture and it includes hard work, plague by the rules and even playing field it get ahead an kwul equal opportunity to get ahead. that what we are asking for. >> rick, to get to where we just started, this is why i asked the question and why i think it is worth talking about. you have worked on the outreach and a lot of good republicanes have done that. i don't think anyone has set that back further as newt gingrich, a national leader, getting attention, looking at first african-american president in this country, calling him entertainer in chief and food stamp president. there is nothing more racially device frif a nationally froment in republican in the past five years than what newt gingrich has done. i think you know how damaging it is. i would like you to say something that is not about msnbc, about what newt gingrich has done. >> look.
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msnbc is very generous to me. i'm not trying to pan on the network. i'm saying i hear a lot of race baiting. i will defend it. newt is not trying to appeal to the lower angels of our nature. he is has said over and over again. he is trying to get all-americans ahead. latinos, african-americans -- you know, it is just offends me when someone says, because i know newt gingrich, and he has worked very hard it attract all kind people from latinos in particular, african-americans, al, you know he worked with you on education. >> which is why i know what he is saying now is not what he said then. and you yourself said al sharpton, you just don't like my answer, since you asked it. i do agree with rachel, and that i think he is really brought race into this. i do not agree with you, rick, that he is appealing to all -- >> i -- >> i think he is real devilish to say you are appealing to people by calling them food
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stamp people and calling their parents criminals and saying they have no role models. that is not appealing to people unless they are masochist. >> okay. what is -- >> what republican -- you criticize democratic anti-poverty programs and it is true that the war on poverty is declared by lindon johnson, democratic president, not successful. >> failed. >> you say republican anti-poverty programs worked. please name me. the republican anti-poverty policy that has lifted people out of poverty and tell me how many people were lifted out of poverty by republican policy. >> because there hasn't been a program. we have not had a new deal, a great deal, great society, with those have always been rejected. i mean those have always been embraced that we've got to embrace all of these programs. they never work. why not just try freedom and free enterprise that everybody in america, we have a common
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culture. >> eight years under reagan, under four under bush senior and eight more under bush junior. so you didn't have an opportunity to have a pro pro gram. >> people prospered in those years. >> african americans dispo portionately. >> including african-americans. >> african-americans were doubly unemployed under every one of them. show us the program that you had that you claim worked. >> lower taxes, more freedom, less government and free enterprise. >> rick tyler from -- >> yes. >> all right. rick from -- rick tyler from newt gingrich winning our future super pac. we have gone all of our round. thank you. >> we will continue this conversation from miami. msnbc's coverage of the florida pry mare r primary will continue in just a moment.
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our coverage of the republican primary continues. a fact to pick up on, that chris observed in the newt gingrich speech tonight, that he exhibited in chris's terms, no grace toward mitt romney. chris did not notice if mr. gingrich conceded that he lost the primary to mr. romney. mr. gingrich did not make a concession and in fact mr. gingrich did not call mr. romney tonight to congratulate him on the victory. though we know from their speeches that ron paul and rick santorum did. let's go back it miami and chris matthewes. chris? >> i think that's consistent, rachel. that love is all around us tonight. we brought in two experts. gene robinson, and former chair of the republican national committee, both are msnbc political analysts and valued colleagues. i don't want to continue that very long. my reaction, michael, i had the
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same reaction our colleagues had on calling him president of commandener chief. al green, what do you call it tribute that president did the other night. i guess i associate newt gingrich with a ma nef lent attitude toward this thing so i think he was playing the number. you don't agree. >> i don't agree. i thought that, my hat is off to rick. it is hard it take your hat off to something and explain it. i think we have to get beyond using race behind every word stz but the food stamp comment. >> the republican party needs to be clear in how it expresses its positions on issues with respect to the black community. you cannot make these prod assumptions that when you start to have conversations about poor education, and welfare and all of the like that you immediately jump to black. particularly when you look at a place like iowa where that was
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not the case. that's a correction that can be made. on the other side of it, that we also have to be a little bit more judicious in making those kinds of leaps. i heard the same thing. i didn't have that reaction. and i thought, yeah, you know, it was no different than if he was singing bing crosby. you were entertaining, not specifically because you're black and al green is black. so i think for me, it was more of a stretch. i understand what al and others, saying. i commend rick for trying his best to put it in context. but that was a tough thing to do. i just thought it took more energy than was necessary. >> gene? >> yeah, let me jump under on this. i have written in on the washington post. i have accused gingrich with race baiting with the food stamp president line, the way he -- >> you had to touch all the bases. are you with me on al green or not? >> at the time i didn't hear it. thinking about it, as been mentioned, i still didn't hear
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it. but i do think it was fair it ask for tyler about it, however. that's his guy. >> and by the way, technically, of course, it is not his guy. >> right, right. >> but in the world we live in -- >> independent. >> right. >> but he is supporting gingrich for president. he was asked not only about the, you know, al green, but also about the food stamp president line, which reverend sharpton attacked not only on race baiting but on factual ground. so i thought that was also a gain. >> and by the way, the welfare queen, young buck, we grew up with it listening to it on the republican side. the sainted ronald reagan used to do this number too. >> real quick, when bill clinton had his sister soldier moment, was this a racial moment? >> yeah. >> so you know, but no one read it that way. everyone applauded him. >> no, no, no.
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south carolina primary -- >> yes. >> i wrote about that too. >> you have to walk on that san andreas fault all the time. when mitt romney is looking at the numbers that came out tonight, does very to make the moves in 41% say he is too liberal. 38% say they are looking for mr. or missus right and they haven't shown up yet. >> that's too liberal. >> which one, that he is not mr. right? >> that he is not mr. right. after four contests, that's a lot of folks out there still saying, not feeling it. so i think coming out of tonight, great win and hats off to mitt and his team. they put together taking the ads out, a good ground game and good effort to turn out the vote. >>, oklahoma.
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>> but we need to do more. >> most fascinating thing is, out of the counties. >> by the way, the food stamp line was working up north there, wasn't it? >> you know, as you know, those counties are more like alabama and georgia than they are like south florida. as steve schmidt point et oud, the conservatives part of the republican party is in the south. 's s so how do you have an established republican party that doesn't have the support of the core of the party? reliability core of the party? >> as soon as we get the march. back to you rachel. >> thank pyou. chris, eugene wrb michael, thank you. when we come back, well talk about why the pennsylvania senator is vowing to fight on. any michigan opinion, he was convincing about it even though he finished way back, third in the pack. well find out what his plans are. we continue in just a moment.
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someone could be a conservative nominee. and you know what, in florida newt gingrich had his opportunity. he came out of the state of south carolina, he came out with a big win and a lot of money. he said, i will be the answer, the anti-mitt.
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and it didn't work. he became the issue. he can't allow our nominee to be the issue in the campaign. >> that's third place finisher, former pennsylvania senator, rick santorum. rit now with 95% of the vote and rick santorum with 13% of the vote. he is ahead of ron paul with 7%. mitt romney with 46% of the vote and newt gingrich in second. headline tonight, other than mitt romney winning, appears to be that nobody is getting out of the race. scott, a florida republican who supports rick santorum for president, representative makin, thank you for your time to knit. we appreciate it. >> thanks for having me on. >> here a quandary. a poll released, said your candidate, mr. santorum, is the most liked candidate in the florida race. 65% of voters likely voters, viewing him favorably. but he comes in a fis tant third place tonight.
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even the slow theers who liked him, 15% said they with vote for him. what is the difference of liking rick santorum but not slow thing for him. >> first of all, governor romney should get congratulations for tonight. i know speaker gingrich didn't call and congratulate shim, but i will. i think the difference is, he is well liked, and you can see it in the crowds. the question is, he can win? but with what happened with gingrich, i think he had his shot and he seems to be in decline now. perhaps what they are seeing is one consistent conservative in the race and it is rick santorum. i think as people get to know him bet are, they will see what i see in senator santorum. a person who has been consistent in his values and be a good contrast to obama. >> a lot of candidate have not been consistent over the time, nonetheless, cap the heart of voters. flip-flop allegation hurts. i think more as matter of
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character than a matter of policy. >> what i'm wondering is whether or not mr. santorum is using the issue of character against gingrich when he described him in the soundbite there, make himself the issue. mr. gingrich had a clans. he made himself the issue and the republican party doesn't need that nominee. is that a shot at mr. gingrich's character? >> i would isn't a say it is a direct shot at character. if you look at the debate if jacksonville the other night, i thought a real moment when senator santorum shined was when the two were bickering over things that don't matter to the future of our country and he just basically said stop. and he acknowledged that it is okay, what both did for a living. let's talk about the great challenges of our country. i think that type of leadership is what people will see and i think they started it see it at the debate in days after that. i think it'll follow through to the future states. >> representative, it is lawrence o'donnell. i think the problem with the
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santorum campaign is it is his first time. and republicans simply don vote far candidate who is running the first time. the only time they did that since dwight eisenhower who had to win world war ii in order to achieve that, was george w. bush whose father was president. if your father wasn't president republicans won't vote for you until the second time around. it is starting to sound to me that is what rick santorum is playing for. he just said he want to be the anti-mitt. which means he doesn't want to be on the ticket with mitt romney. he want to stand up four years from now and say, i was the guy you liked four years ago. and he want to get his start really as a front-runner four years from now. >> oh, i think that would be completely misreading him. . i was with him all day friday, he is in this to win it. i know he looks like the underdog right now. i think that conservative message will come through. one thing that may be different, you guys know a lot more about
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history than i do. i do know with social networking now, perhaps the old paradigms of getting your name out and getting people to know you may be different. so, you look at some of the facebook groups and all that. perhaps this is a little bit different this type of around. >> state representative scott make makin supporting rick santorum for president. congratulations on your presidential candidates return tonight and thank you for being with us. >> you seen say rick santorum is a nice ga nice guy. >> yeah. >> i don't really agree with rick santorum on anything. on anything. but i think his speech was an effective one. it made news. it was hard-enl edged. >> i agree. >> when we return, msnbc's coverage of the florida primary continues. stay with us.
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welcome back to our coverage of the florida republican primary. the caucus is on saturday. main caucuses start on saturday, going from february 4 to 11. we have colorado caucuses. minnesota caucuses. missouri primary to be followed by the missouri caucus.
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then c pac then debate february 22, then arizona primary then michigan primary. as we look forward to the rest of the race, after this, what changed? because mitt romney just won florida? what changed that was not true before tonight? >> well, it is no small thing that newt gingrich did not call him to say won grat lagss. and that he broke that custom. >> that's a big deal? >> broke protocol. this is a big deal. this is the fourth contest and the relationship between these two deteriorated to the point where there is no phone calls. all courtesies have been dispensioned with. it is a campaign of total war, going to the super tuesday states. i think that republicans have a real risk of the front-runner mitt romney. his unfavorables driven up over this long stretch now that's going to be over the next five weeks and if you're a republican, who is focused on beating the president in november, you have to start being concerned with the tone
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and tenor of the campaign and what it is likely to be in weeks ahead. >> rachel, what hasn't changed is that the majority of the republican voters tonight voted against mitt romney and that was after he bombarded the state with money. how much money? more than he spent last time. more than john mccain spent last time, combined. in fact, 50% more than all of the republican candidates spent in florida four years ago. and all he got was this outcome. 12-point lead on newt gingrich, an extremely weak candidate. >> that is one of the big things is he wasn't blown out tonight. gingrich wasn't blown out. he still is talking to the base. before south carolina, was oh, it's personal for mitt. it's really personal now. i mean, his emotions aren't going to let him in my way shape or form get out of this rates and move forward. it is almost as if he was there toer torpedo mitt any way he c.
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i don't see him ever supporting romney. >> i think that the cast he will stay in, i think that -- i think that santorum will stay in. i think tonight, that mr. romney was able to edge out a victory. well, not enl out. a good size. but one of the nice president obama because as long as they keep behaving wait they are behaving, the president can keep going the way he is going. talk to the american people about other things. i think while nothing changed, other than we move on to nevada with the same cast of confusion. >> so the headline out of tonight at least from us here at msnbc, steve schmidt expects total war to be the next stage of this campaign. >> can get worse. >> mon is out of the race and i think newt gingrich was being racist again when he called the president entertainer in chief and told him to stop sixthing. that's my headline tonight.
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thanks you to steve shult, lawrence o'donnell, al sharpton.
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good evening. i'm chris matthews in miami, florida, with a late night special. this is hardball. tonight mitt romney scored an important win. we project he's secured a strong double-digit lead over newt gingrich. he outspend gingrich by four to one bombarding him with negative ads. and this was a big win after a loss in south carolina. he now reemerges has the front-runner. polls out this week show independent voters increasingly turned off to romney and the
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results from the all out negativity of the campaign isn't going to help. more ads for romney were positive. and he was paying for most of them. and how much damage has it done to newt gingrich? he's vowed to keep fighting. so there's a long way to go before now and coming back here to tampa at the beginning of the summer. let me ask you all, first of all, let's talk about newt. he goes away snarling tonight. he did not endorse, he did not support. he did not congratulations. he did not concede tonight. what is that going to mean? >> well, a long campaign. now it's going to be long as a matter of intention. and now his ally, ron paul will
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be the caucuses. i saw dloogs and defiance. he detailed and almost lunatic specificity the first days of his administration. but he was doing that to make a point. which is he thinks big thoughts and he thinks in the long term. now the defiance is what i heard not only was the guy is going to try to take it all the way to the convention, but a guy who will be difficult to get in the convention. once he's in the convention will difficult to keep in the convention. he said a people's campaign directly between him and the people. that means if he's not satisfied with romney, if he doesn't win, if he country get what he wants in the convention, which he won't, he's going to threaten --
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i'm telling you, he's going to threaten to go outside the party and create as much havoc as he can as a third party. >> let me ask me your thoughts. is this guy doing what ted kennedy did? he says i'm going to write a contract with the voters. is he going to hold the scriptures and say if you don't agree with my stuff, i'm the real conservative and you're just a pretender. >> i like you use the words scripture. i think of old testament newt and new testament newt. the old testament newt is about vengeance and scorn. then there's the new book of newt. the book of revelations. well, cocktails at 12 and lunch at 12:30. the people's campaign thing is really important. what has happened is there's now a skirts and skins game.
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the establishment versus the glass roots. the managerial class versus the populous. and newt is throwing down with the populous grass roots outside the establishment. this is a people's campaign. not a bob dole campaign. not an rnc campaign. he's trying to rally the people. >> the very division goes back all through the division of the party. newt is grabbing the other half he didn't win tonight. here's gingrich talking about people power. let's listen. >> now you might ask, how can that be true? i'll give you the answer. it was stated at a historic moment in 1863 a in dedicating our first national military cemetery. by the president of the united states, abraham lincoln who said we have government of the people, by the people, for the
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people. and we're going to have people power defeat money power in the next six months. >> you know, we have evidence he may have a case here. 41% of the people backing mitt romney or of the party say he's too liberal. is newt here offering to be that guy who is still to come in the race? >> loob at what mitt romney did get. he got a big vote. he didn't get a majority. >> swept the panhandle. but if you add up newt gingrich and ron paul and rick santorum, it's still a majority compared with mitt romney. so newt's calculation is h won't say much nasty at all if it weren't for the issue of the middle east and so forth they would be soul mates in the entirety, really.
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and newt is going to just keep driving it. >> let's get the exit polling from tamron hall. >> mitt romney beat newt gingrich among most voter groups in our exit poll. let's take a look. we start by looking at where he did well. among moderates you see ploms there. 62% with that group of voters. people who make over $200,000. strong there as well. those families supporting him 50% there. 59% in the latino vote. and for those who don't support the tea party, romney's numbers are at 55% of the vote there.
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romney's problems can be seen with the more conservative parts of the republican base. voters split eventually between those who call themselves very conservative versus those who say they are somewhat conservative. and gingrich beat romney by 11 points. and finally the exit poll included other hints about where romney might need to improve. take a look at this. 41% of voters said romney's positions on issues are not conservative enough. and 38% said they would still like to see someone else run for the nomination. chris, you mentioned that. it remains to be seen if weaknesses like those are enough to stop mitt romney from getting the nomination. even those people who voted for romney today.
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>> tamron hall, thank you for that. those are the key numbers. the 14%. 38% still looking for mr. own mrs. right to come along. how does romney identify that problem and deal with it? >> romney has got to figure out a positive message that appeals to conservative voters. >> how does he win their heart? >> if i had an answer i would work for the romney campaign. but he's not trying to appeal to their heads or their hearts. you see his stump speeches and they are idea free exercises. there's nothing there. he's very good at attacking. he can win by attacking. but in the end in a party that's riveted the way the party is and a party where he needs the conservative enthusiasm if he's the nominee, he must come up
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with some kind of a big idea that gets conservatives. there's a larger number than with him now. >> john is right. there's no conservative idea or vision that animates this. >> why doesn't he have the 9-9-9? >> that's a very good question. he needs something that people can identify with as a core conservative idea. beyond merely attacking the president, which is what he does, he thinks merely attacking the president will somehow win him conservative votes. but the combination of attacking the president and attacking newt gingrich has left him in a position where he won down here with more than a third of the people who voted for him, wishing that other candidates
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were in the race. and to me that's an astonishing number. >> our opponents in the other party have been watching. and they like to comfort themselves with the thought that a competitive campaign will leave us divided and weak. but i've got news for them. a competitive primary does not divide us, it prepares us. and we will win. and when we gather back here in tampa seven months from now for our convention -- [ cheering ] ours will be a united party with a winning ticket for america. >> there you go. a united party with a winning ticket. certainly it's not yipted tonight. the man looks like he's out the hall of the presidents. there's something mechanical
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about that. something not spirited or inspired. i'm going back to the same question i'm going to leave the audience with tonight. he didn't get the gut. newt got the gut. is he going to get the heart ever of the party? >> i think the notion is almost the definition of the wish being the father to the thought. i'll put a pin in something that's happening next week as a round about way. they see them as gathering in washington, d.c. next week in the middle of the republican primary campaign. every current and former republican presidential candidate in the cycle will be there. rick perry, michele bachmann, herman cain, gingrich, romney and on the closing speech, sarah palin. these are from outside washington and inside washington. >> will they just trash obama? >> they will. but you'll see a lot of the issues that are alive litigated. he has a chance to give a big speech. i'm saying he has a chance. this is a big opportunity for them.
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will he do it? i don't know. >> they are really the core of the modern conservative movement and party. the unifying theme of that event is going to be can mitt romney convince us, can he pass fi us? i predict the answer will be no. the answer is going to be no. thank you, coming up now, gingrich vows to stay in the race until the bitter end. is that good for the republican party? i don't think so. our coverage of the florida primary continues in a minute. this is a special edition of hardball live from the children's museum on watson island. we'll be right back. >> it is now clear that this will be a two-person race between the conservative leader
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newt gingrich and the massachusetts moderate.
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we are going to contest every place. we will win. we will be in tampa as the nominee in august. welcome back to the special late night edition of hardball. former rnc chair michael steele. we have a lot to talk about tonight. this race is only the second one for romney to win, gene. he got beaten to hell in the panhandle in the southern part of the state, when he was actually in the north. he hasn't won the heart and soul of the republican party. it's a southern based party. it wins the base and it also
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wins suburbs around the big city and wins the reagan democrats. and romney hasn't connected with the voters. and they did it in south carolina. and they did it in the florida panhandle. >> the republican in knowing that party structure, can a guy from the atlantic doughnut be mr. south? he seemed to be writing the scriptures of conservatism. all the concerns for obama care to dodd-frank. he went through an amazing hit list. he will be onto different regulations. from a policy standpoint.
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not what you just witnessed in florida with the negative ads, but what we should have been talking about going forward. let me tell you two things are going to happen. one, i think you're going to see both newt and santorum begin a move on health care. i think the two of them are going to come out of florida. that's the one that's not been explored esksively. so is rick santorum. he's already ahead in nevada. they're releasing a new commercial there starting tonight. late tonight, tomorrow morning. so you're going to see them begin to play on different fields. so romney is going to have to do one of those dance over here, dance over there. while he's also going to front what will be an on slot on health care. >> he has to keep moving and
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playing defense on the right. he can't go after obama yet. >> and newt set it up with a litany of policy that the party should talk about. it. >> reminds me of ted kennedy when he was losing to carter. if he lays down a philosophical case, i'm the conservative. can he win the case? >> he can make a case. he can keep the party in turmoil for months and months. we're dealing with newt gingrich. he is in constancy itself. he can be brilliant. he can be terrible in debates. >> what did you make of his manifesto tonight? >> he nailed everything. he went through the executive orders he would sign. >> that's not every outing for newt gingrich. second thing. in all the problems that romney confronts going ahead.
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he won by 50 points. he won ugly. if you were overseeing the writing of the headline in tomorrow morning's "washington post," your paper, it would be romney wins. but would there be a sub text that says he wins dirty? you don't have to. but it's a party man, would gingrich refused to concede tonight. everybody concedes when they lose. he didn't. >> that's a personal moment for newt. at some point it becomes personal. i think that was the moment. i'm not calling it. >> i'm not jumping over the net.
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>> not doing it. not doing it. that lays down to your point. in the mind, the base, you really don't like this guy. you don't like this guy. >> you've covered this. what is it about newt? maybe just envy. it could be just envy. that's normal behavior. nobody who campaigns against mitt romney ends up liking him. >> no. >> you're laughing, but that's always true. >> not just mccain. the entire field in 2008. he's a christian believer. >> there's something about the guy that draws this out of his opponents.
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his problem, and i think it's why you see his numbers the way they were with the base as a whole, 40 some percent tonight, saying not really is that they also pick up that vibe. so he's got to figure out, his team has got to figure out how they suppress the vibe, however he is giving it off, to let people know there's a warm fuzzy side that's going to be important for him going forward. >> there is a fuzzy side to whom? mitt romney? >> no, i'm saying he has to show that there is. it will be a showdown. >> he's got to say something. he has to say something that connects with the audience. it's got to be more than i can beat obama. >> sounds like a lot of fun. that's over in arlington. thank you, michael steele. thank you, gene robinson. the obama campaign learning about mitt romney and how they will use the info. a lot of info coming out.
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not a great weekend for mitt romney. but he did win. he did win. we'll be right back. the democrats won the special election in oregon for the open house seat. we'll be back with more of the special eedition of hardball tonight from miami.
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mr. president, you were elected to lead. you chose to follow. now it's time for you to get out of the way. >> this promises to be a long and ugly battle for the republican nomination, the obama campaign is gearing up about who
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they expect to face. it looks like they expect to face mitt romney. we have steve schmidt and author and historian, jonathan alter. gentlemen, let's talk about taxes here. as part of the vetting for vice president the last time around in 2008 do you know your campaign, the mccain campaign thought of the tax returns? did they pass muster, and who has copies of them? >> you know, chris, to take you back four years ago on the vetting process, i wasn't part of the vetting team. i didn't see the information. they are available. they are passive. you can turn them over to the mccain campaign. you can certainly turn them over
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to the public now. >> i think the campaign can turn over as much as they want to turn over. i don't know how far back he keeps his taxes. he turned over a year's worth to the mccain campaign. he's going to be called onto disclose as much of this as has ever been disclosed before, and it's going to be an issue he has to deal with for the duration of his campaign. >> i know one thing i think about this campaign and one success of the campaign coming out of the occupy movement, as limited as it was, jonathan, it seems historically it's raised the issue of the very top people in the country economically and the advantages they have with regard to the political structure. it seems to me this money in the cayman islands will come back to haunt the fellow. all the money he stored offshore. you're out of the work in the midwest. you're out of work in the states. this guy takes his money overseas to avoid being part of our process. >> yeah, and it's important
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shorthand. that's right. use it on "meet the press" to talk about the swiss bank accounts. it's less complicated. it communicates that he's the poster boy of whatnot just occupy wall street is against, because they're going to get discredited by the time the year is over. but what a lo of the american public believes has been unfair in the last 10, 15, even 20 years. it's been getting more than they deserve in a just society. in the past it hasn't worked well for democrats. it has seemed contrary to the american dream. actually, obama is more of a pro business pop list, if that's not too much of an oxymoron. his state of the union speech
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was full of probusiness ideas. >> let me ask you about the republican party. it's not like old money or big money. it's not like the democratic party, it's more of a middle class party. make your own money party. i don't think it's like old money people over time. people like romney. you think they're going to get excited about a guy like romney who seems like he inherited the money, no matter how he got it. >> one of the important findings is you have 40% of the electorate. another candidate in the race. there was clearly a lack of enthusiasm among a wide section of republicans for both of the two candidates leading in the race. and i think there's a difference between rick santorum's rhetoric on the issues, who is really appealing to a blue collar
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audience. he really speaks the language in an effective way. ronald reagan was able to communicate to this group of americans. and i think it's important to take the message to blue collar communities. thus far mitt romney habit done that particularly effectively. this is going to be an issue all through the race. all candidates come in with assets. they come in with liabilities. this could be an asset for him. it could be a liability for him. this will be the central ground of his testing in the weeks ahead. you have written about the ability of ronald reagan who could connect to the guy working out in milwaukee in a factory. this ability to connect is not there with these guys. >> you know, democrats like roosevelt and kennedy, buzz their policies are more protected at working people, they can get away with the fact they didn't come up the hard way. republicans, it really helps if
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you're self made, like ronald reagan and you actually came all the way up. if you're born with a silver spoon in your mouth, it's harder for you as george h. w. bush learned. he only got in through the vice presidentsy. republicans, it really helps if you're self made, like ronald reagan and you actually came all the way up. if you're born with a silver spoon in your mouth, it's harder for you as george h. w. bush learned. he only got in through the vice presidentsy. he didn't make it directly to the oval office. so it's been very tough for a republican to connect to working
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class voters when they come from a background that smells of money. >> if i were on that side, i would be thinking i'm looking for mr. goodbar, too, and i don't see him coming down. i don't see the guy i'm looking for. do you, steve? >> i think both parties have a floor of about 47%. i think the republican nominee starts off at 47. i think the president starts off at 47. we're going to be competing over a very, very narrow electorate. and half the country has the other half of the country totally tuned out. there's a famous photo op where the queen and king of england comes to visit at hide park. he serves him hot dogs.
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there's a great story about fdr. a grieving man fell to his knees. the guy next to him says, did you know the president? he says, no, i didn't know the president. but he knew me. barack obama doesn't have that either with a lot of voters. they don't have the sense that he really knows them and what they're worried about. i actually think contrary to what the colleagues have been saying that the longer gingrich stays in, the better it is for romney. gingrich's message is that romney is a massachusetts moderate.
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the more he drills that home and imprints that on the minds of voters, the easier it is for mitt romney to appeal to independent who is are more moderate than the voters taking part in these republican primaries. >> i've always thought that. how they are playing a may zwror role in determining the nominee. we have new information about the rich billionaire whose money is shaping this republican fight. you're watching it a late night edition of hardball on msnbc. a competitive primary does not divide us, it prepares us. and we will win.
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welcome back to a late night edition of hardball. we're finally able to get a look at who some of the biggest money people are behind the biggest super pacs. especially those financing the negative ads out of romney michael isikoff, let me ask you this. all this negative advertising, something like 92% of which is negative. $24 million spend down here in the last few days. who is paying for the romney
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piece of this? >> funny you should ask, chris. we just learned that restore our future held back the filing with the fec, which was required by midnight tonight until after romney gave his victory speech. they didn't want to step on it. they didn't want attention. easy to see why. $7.9 million during the last six months of the year. by far the biggest super pac. newt gingrich only raised 2.1 and the obama super pac, only 4 hnt $4 million. far below the ambitious goals they have set. then you look at the list and really see how with the super pacs we get the billionaire donors who can pump enormous
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amounts of money. seven separate million dollar checks came in from -- to that romney super pac. a lot of energy guys. bill coke of the coke brothers fame kicked in a million dollars. and then there's a strange one from idaho. a devout mormon who run a wellness company under the name of malucha, that contributed a million dollars. but we're going to have a lot of fun over the next few days looking at this list. trying to figure out who these people are and what their angles are. it's clear they had a big impact on the election.
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>> the problem in terms of ethics is mitt romney and the people running the government if he gets elected president all know who brought the money in here. he knows who they are now. he helped them get elected. these are supposed to be independent groups. they don't know what the other is doing. and then you have romney pitching donors, telling them to give to the super pac. once you do that, the idea that they're truly independent is pretty -- it evaporates quickly. and now we see who these donors are. and look, we're going to see a lot more. and i expect the obama super pac will be having plenty of donors down the future. it's notable the amounts of money they raised are far less than a lot of us anticipated. about the most notable was
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$100,000 from steven spielberg. >> i was just watching this. were you stunned tonight that newt gingrich only -- thank you. his only gee wiz was to move the embassy. and a long list of things to do. that's all he gave him. he's been stint on that point. he's been saying that. and he's been -- the recipient from the last -- for the last five years. we did learn from the gingrich pac that even before the $10
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million came in, another million dollars had already come in from three other family members of sheldon adelson. all listed from the same address at the hotel in vegas. thank you, michael isikoff. he is a native to gingrich. let me ask you a couple of questions about you guys tonight. what is he up to now? is he going to try to win in the next couple weeks. is he going to take losses in february and hope he can get through the conservative southern states in march. he had mitt romney, the moderate, versus newt gingrich the conservative. it's something that we can win.
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>> those list of things he promised to do tonight, it did look like a manifesto. is he doing what ted kennedy did to jimmy carter, saying i may not win the fight but i'm going to be the guy who stands for party principle. is he going to be conservative ideologue against what he sees as -- well, the opportunist on the other side? >> no. i think newt gingrich believes he has a genuine shot at the nomination. and he's going to fight through. and as was mentioned, there are at least 46 more states to go. i think there are more than that because of the territories involved, too. but we're going to fight it out state by state. we'll see who shows up at the convention in august. are you sure if the other guy wins the nomination that newt is behind it. will he insist they sind off on the manifesto before he does that?
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>> no, i've known newt a long time. newt ran as a republican in 1974 when you couldn't get your trash picked up in georgia as a republican. and he's always been a party person. he's not going to leave the party. he wants to build up the party and not lead up the party. >> let me ask you about the results tonight. they seem to be a function of two failed debate performances by newt. were you surprised he didn't bring the fight to mitt romney on those two occasions? i was. most people in journalism were. we expected a really donny brook in both cases. romney was told you have to make newt mad. all the surrogates said newt is very angry and hostile.
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i've never known him to be that way. but he did get angry. so in that sense mitt romney failed. but i thought they were okay debate performances. you know, even the hall of famers, you know, don't hit the ball two out of three times. >> i got to tell you a bit of history. richard nixon before i went into the debate with jack kennedy. he won every debate before that. he was told to erase the assassin image. he blew it. it seems to be the fighter of a fight. that's just my thinking. if you don't fight, don't expect to win. >> up next, will the score card strategy spread out west to nevada? will mitt keep buying big negative ads to pummel and destroy his opponent?
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we're back from miami, florida, on the beautiful top of a building here. anybody want to come to florida? come to florida. it's great weather. tonight the attention turns to nevada which holds caucuses this coming saturday. newt gingrich will make a strong play for the first western state of the primary season.
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and a former senate candidate in nevada and a gingrich supporter. i want to go to sue out of favoritism here, john. excuse me for a minute. let me ask you about gingrich here. he lost here. totally negative campaign against him. just relentless carpet bombing at this guy. no positives for mitt romney. just all negative on this guy. 92% of the ads here. can they do it in nevada? can they do it again against your candidate? >> they're already doing it. he's being bombarded already, which is bad news for newt gingrich, but good news for the economy, which is so bad that we have all the new tv commercials. >> you probably say as a former tv star that you like the advertising.
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what if it's all negative against newt and so he's remove ed from the face of the earth. pulverize until he quits the race. >> i agree. that's what it looks like is going to happen. and it's unfortunate. all of us who are trying to vote here in the caucus on saturday want to hear from the candidates, where are they going? what is the future of the country? what do they have in mind? rick santorum arrived with a lot of publicity. >> let me go for an objective look at this thing. it seems your state is going to do what? you have lds support for romney. mormon church people out there.
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last time they showed close to a quarter of the vote. he's been running for president for years. he never left the organization after 2008. he's got that and he's got money. they gt mailers in the boxes that says newt spells trouble. sue mentioned the ads rr going on from both the super pac and from the romney campaign. i'm a little astounded that everyone seems so shocked that the campaign is so negative. the twailgt campaign was, too. they're going to pulverize gingrich.
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you know they want him out of the race. >> again, john, the question, how do you get people to vote in the general election for mitt romney if he spends all his money in nevada trashing an opponent and not selling his heart? how does he win the heart -- i hate to be romantic about this, but how do you win the hearts of conservative republicans by just smashing your opponent? >> i guess the answer to that is, the fact is so many republicans and they hope enough independents are so negative about president obama that they can do whatever they want in the primary and they'll still vote for him. it's turning around with independents because of what has gone on in this republican primary. so it's a risky strategy.
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but they're counting on the negative toward obama. >> what a statement about the situation. thanks for that account. john and sue, it's great having you on, sue. that's it for our late night special. this is msnbc's coverage of the florida primary continues in a moment.
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former massachusetts governor mitt romney projected to win big in florida tonight after a hard fought and almost uniformly negative campaign. >> a competitive primary does not divide us, it prepares us. and we will win. >> 50 delegates up for grabs tonight. more than any other contest thus for. but literally written on his podium, newt gingrich, a distant second in florida already telegraphing another number.
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>> we are going to contest another place. we will be in tampa as the nominee in august. >> doing his own count tonight. from the next nominating contest in nevada. an upbeat congressman ron paul. >> tonight i saw a statistic we're in third place when it comes to delegates. that's what really counts. >> that may be what really counts. but by our count you're in fourth place when it comes to delegates. also tonight in las vegas, former pennsylvania senator rick santorum also looking ahead to the nevada caucuses and the races beyond that. also slamming his opponents if the negative tone of the florida campaign. >> one message that we got from the campaign in florida is that republicans can do better. >> more now from our exit polling in florida and the challenges that lie ahead for mitt romney as he heads into
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february contests very different than the ones that happened in january. for exit polls we turn to tamron hall. >> mitt romney won convincingly in florida. but the nbc exit poll hints at potential challenges still ahead. for one thing, some of his support is soft. about six in ten voters are satisfied with the republican field, 38% say they would like to see someone else run for the nomination. that includes 37% of romney's own voters. another weak vns. many question his conservative credentials. 41% believe he's not conservative enough. 47% say his issues are right. 6% say he's too conservative. also romney has faced questions about how well he connects with average people giving that he is one of the wealthiest presidential candidates we've seen in history. when asked what better
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understands the problems of the average american, 34% say romney. but that eight-point margin is less than the margin he's winning by in florida tonight. >> tamron, thank you. the first number that tamron just gave there just blew my mind. usually what happens is as voters commit themselves to a candidate by going out to the polls and voting for them, you see the proportion of voters want somebody else to enter the race go down. tonight in florida in the fourth contest we're seeing four in ten florida republican voters still want somebody else to enter the race. how is that possible four races into this? let's go down to chris matthews who is in miami. chris, am i overreacting to this? doesn't this seem like an unusually high number? they're not getting used to
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romney. they're accepting him. they're not growing accustomed to his face. it's not working. that's a real problem for them. romney has not instilled it. he did not run positive ads about yourself here. the only happy person was ron paul. he looks like he's having the time of his life. he says whatever occurs to him, no matter what he says. no matter how wacky. he says the most obscure things and they love him more for it. he talks about fed policy. he has people 20 years old going nuts over it. he's the winner in terms of life here. whatever they tell him to do.
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but there's no love for him or buy him. it's interesting. i don't think santorum is having the time of his life, mitt is certainly not. ron paul is enjoying the campaign. he has no prayer in the world. he's probably not even a republican as lawrence says all the time. yet he seems to be enjoying the process. not him. not any winner. he didn't have the good grace to say one good thing about himself. newt gingrich didn't show him the slightest bit of grace tonight. i don't think he conceded. i may be wrong. i may have missed the line somewhere. but certainly no tribute to the guy who won the florida primary tonight.
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ron paul is the only one saying what he believes. >> i think you're totally right to zoom in on the happiness of ron paul, if only because it is the most emotion you get. we did not see that tonight. what you're talking about ron paul, talking about obscure policy that most people don't know about, ron paul did less of that and newt gingrich did more of it. it was like there was a crossover. not since dengle norwood. what about dingle norwood. everybody said what a dingle berry. i shouldn't have said that. >> chuck todd is looking at the
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breakdown by county and in the general election. what do you have? >> number one, just look at it right now. it tells you why we told you to look at this throughout the night. simply look at northern florida. these margins weren't huge, but he won them. he hopes when he gets to march on super tuesday in more states like places like alabama, mississippi, oklahoma, tennessee, this is what gives them hope if he runs a better campaign than he did this time he clearly has a base to build on. because romney is going to prove to have more vote than any republican presidential candidate in florida's history. he did it basically in five counties.
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half of his vote margin came out of here. it was an unbelievable margin he got out of the south and tampa. you would think when you get close to 50% you would win every media market in the state. no, this was a very bottom heavy victory, if you will, for mitt romney. i don't think we learned anything about the general. there's a really fun fact who ran obama's florida effort in 2008. this is the total presidential vote for the last election. the margin is 56,000 votes.
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that's 0.17%. less than two-tenths have separated them in the last five presidential elections. the largest was clinton in '96. largest republican margin was bush in 2004. but there's a reason why florida is america's swing state. more even inside a republican primary. we will probably see until we get to hawaii. >> i am really struck by how many counties newt gingrich won given the big margin by which mitt romney won the overall state.
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what you're essentially saying is mitt romney did not find a way to broadly appeal geographically across the state. he essentially used organizational strength to maximize the turnout of his voters in the parts of the state where he would otherwise do well. he was going to win anyway. but he really lost the northern part of the state badly, didn't he? >> well, when you looked and saw our wall street journal poll. last week we were talking why is gingrich ahead nationally at the time? he consolidated the base of the party. he is sitting at. which is southerners, very -- the folks that call themselves very conservative, and strong supporters of the tea party. that's somewhere between 30 and 35% of the republican electorate in general. and the further north you go in florida, the more south you go.
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what the map shows is what you just said. romney still has an issue with the core base conservative. if you believe the party, which is still sort of based in the south. it's a culturally conservative southern party. it's the heart of the party. it's not the majority of the party. but it is sort of the largest plurality part of the party if you will. it's still the heart. and that is where gingrich has a foundation to build on. now if he ever could run a campaign to build from there, you see where he could go. you would rather start where newt is starting, if you were. if you were starting from scratch, than where romney is starting. it's harder normally in a republican primary or any primary to have to sort of win over the base. what romney is doing is much harder than what newt is doing. i think what chuck went to at
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the end in, if you're looking at the results, even though mitt romney just won florida, you would rather be newt gingrich than mitt romney looking at the map. do you think that's right, steve? >> i think you would rather be mitt romney overall when you look at the money, you look at the resources. the heart and soul is in the south. and the problem is that you have someone from massachusetts who is accumulating the delegates, winning the state, and when newt gingrich calls him a massachusetts moderate, it's a polite way of calling him a yankee for all the southern states that are yet to come. and you have a situation where they do very well. and georgia and mississippi. yet, still be the person far behind in the delegate count and far behind in second place like he is tonight for the overall
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nomination. and you have the nominee of the republican party could be someone who is, you know, from outside of the cultural center, and that creates great tension in the party. >> so let me say something provocative, but i think it's true. is that why we keep getting racial allusions from newt gingrich? newt gingrich brought back the food stamps president thing. he's been bringing that up in florida. tonight he went to president obama ought to stop singing. ought to stop being the entertainer in chief. essentially caricaturing him in a way that almost calls out to minstrelsy. >> i think you're right, which is why i brought herman cain tobacco in the conversation. he is clearly going after what he considers a southern mentality. when he talks about the food stamp stuff. newt gingrich is many things. stupid is not one of them. he knows exactly what he's
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saying. he's knows exactly who he's playing to, and when you look at that map, he knows that you deal with the northern border of florida, which is southern alabama, and all of those states where they're headed. he knows what card he's playing. and he also knows this. even if he can't run, steve, a campaign that is sharp enough to take the nomination, the worst thing that could happen to mitt romney is he becomes the leader of that conservative block that mitt romney has got to deal with in tampa at the convention. can you imagine if he walks in the convention as the leader of the conservative wing of the republican party. newt gingrich is not the kind of
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guy you want to negotiate with. four of the people surveyed don't think he's conservative enough. mitt romney is not conservative enough. four in ten people surveyed want somebody else. i was listening to newt tonight. i'm thinking, is this guy thinking about a possible independent run? he's ripping on the republicans. he's ripping on the establishment. he's talking as if he's further to the right than where the republicans are right now. romney is not your guy. i'm the guy. i'm staying in this thing. he's looking at those two big numbers tonight to keep him going. and that's what he is going to be selling hard to the people that will possibly write him a check. >> two provocative questions to put to the gingrich campaign. is it possible he's prepping for a third party candidate? not ron paul but newt gingrich. and is he using coded racial language to appeal to white conservative voters in the deep south? very provocative questions. we'll pick up with them with a supporter of the gingrich campaign. rick tyler from the super pac
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winning our future, next.
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i'll tell you out front. i'm not going to compete with obama in singing because i'm not running for entertainer in chief. i'm running for president. you cannot sing your way past the disaster of your presidency. mitt romney, newt gingrich, not talking about that. singling out the president as
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being bad for singing. he is calling him the entertainer in chief. we've been talking about the results in florida. newt gingrich did surprisingly well in florida's northern counties. the ones that look, frankly, more like the rest of the south. we're joined by rick tyler with the pro-newt gingrich winning the super pac. rick, thanks for being with us again. it's nice to have you back. >> glad to be here. >> we hear -- at least i hear. when mr. speaker talked about the president as entertainer in chief, as somebody who ought to stop singing and dealing with the real problems of the country. coming on the heels of calling him a food stamp president. i hear racially coded language there. i hear mr. gingrich trying to appeal to southern white conservatives who may be responding to racially biased coded language about the president.
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and msnbc ought to get off this race kick. if we want to talk about the republican party, the republican party was started by abraham lincoln. we fought a civil war. if you go back to the 1856 democrat pick platform, it's a racist platform. so we can go down this road. but the republican party has a proud history. >> what about tonight? >> what about tonight? >> you can talk about the civil war and through retrux and through the past century. but what -- let me finish the question and i promise i'll shut up. food stamp president. that i will go to the naacp and tell them to be dissatisfied with food stamps and they should demand paychecks. and this president is an entertainer in chief and ought to stop singing and deal with the real problems of the country. there's a pattern of very, i think obviously racially coated
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language that has nothing to do with the parties in the civil war. >> i don't understand this. the president sings. newt gingrich makes a little thing and all the sudden it's a racist thing. more people are on food stamps because of barack obama. they abort the babies. they've done nothing to lift them out of poverty. maybe we have good intentions, too. but our policies haven't been tried. how about we accept we both have the right intentions for everybody to rise out of poverty, and you talked about that before, and maybe we should try our policies that put people back to work. tell them to shut up, collect the check and vote for democrat. i don't buy this race baiting. >> that's not what newt gingrich said. newt gingrich brought race up in the campaign. >> tell me when he did, al. >> i'm getting ready to tell you.
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he said, and i'm quoting him, that he would go to the naacp and tell black people to stop being satisfied with food stamps. he didn't say people on food stamps. he siad black people. don't be satisfied with food stamps, that they should demand jobs. he said that black people in communities that youngsters don't have role models. this is not what he said when he went on the tour with me for, a tour that president obama asked him to go on. he's brought race in the campaign by name. you cannot then turn around and act like rachel and i are bringing up race. wait a minute. i'm going to let you finish. but i'm going to finish this part. he brought up race. you need to answer it. if he didn't want to deal with race, why did he bring up race? and it's a patent untruth that president obama has more people on food stamps. more people went on new food stamp recipients under george bush than under president obama. would you call him a food stamp president?
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>> we're not running against george bush. >> answer the facts. you just said that obama had more. that is factually incorrect. >> al, 98% of african-americans vote democrat. okay. what have they gotten for it? poor schools, poor neighborhoods, crime ridden neighborhoods, destruction of the family and the democrats want to abort their babies. so that's their position. i'm not going to defend that. >> people vote -- black people are voting democrat because the civil rights act, voting rights act, and many of the members of congress -- >> which more republicans as a percentage voted for than democrats. >> we vote on interest. we vote on interest. republican or not. why would we vote for people that call our parents criminals?
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you, you can't admit you're wrong on the fact of food stamps. i think newt gingrich has tried to reach out to african-americans and said, there is another party. there's another set of policies that work better for the american family, including the african-american family. that there are better schools. that there's a way to prosperity. there's a way to earn a paycheck. there's a way to get ahead in life. it doesn't mean mean depending on the democratic party for handouts. he hasn't brought it from in from the white perspective. he brought it in to appeal for african-americans that they can vote a different way. republicans may have good intentions, but your policies fail and our policies work. >> what is his policy? reprimanding them saying they don't have role models is a policy. saying the only things they see is crime is a policy? what is his policy? >> let me tell you a story about role models.
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>> no, why don't you tell me what the policies are? >> you asked me about role models. i would like to answer the question. how about role models. we just showed this movie red tails. you know who showed up, military families? you know what color they were? they were african american. they brought their kids. you know why? finally hollywood made a movie with patriotic african-americans part as history. you know why they showed up? because they don't have any. >> no, they have many. they have doctors. they have lawyers. >> sure they do. but hollywood doesn't show that. you know what they get on msnbc is race baiting. >> that is why i know that he's demagoguing. he knows better than that. he knows that parents are trying to get their children an education. he went and met with them. then he flips the scripts and acts like he doesn't exist.
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>> al, you're arguing with yourself. i'm agreeing with you. >> no, you're not. >> yes. >> no, you're trying to rationalize something that is irrational. mr. gingrich has not laid out a policy. he's tried to use us as a back board to score what he perceives as far right wing voters. it's unfair and beneath what he said he was trying to do. it's hard enough. sure. >> i just don't see it that way. i'm saying i think newt gingrich is trying to make a genuine appeal. i've works on latino outreach as a republican because i think they have a home in the republican party. i've done that for ten years. so has newt gingrich. i don't think he's changed any of his views about that or is trying to appeal to some segment. if you can't win across the board on american values, that includes african-americans,
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hispanics, asian, whatever. you know, we're all americans. we share a common culture. and it includes hard work, playing by the rules, and an even playing field to get ahead. an equal opportunity to get ahead. that's all we're asking for. >> rick, in terms of bringing us back to where we started, this is the reason i ask the question in the first place and why it's worth talking about. you've worked on african-american outreach for the party. a lot of good americans have done that. i think nobody has set that outreach back further than newt gingrich as a national leader, getting a lot of national attention this year, looking at african-american role models of achievement in the country. the first african-american president in the country, calling him the entertainer in chief and the food stamp president. there's been nothing more racially divisive from a national republican in the past five years than what newt gingrich has done, and i think you know how damaging it is, and i would like you to say something that's not about msnbc, about what newt gingrich has done. >> look, msnbc is very generous to me. i'm not trying to pan the network.
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i'm just saying i hear a lot of race baiting. and i'm going to defend it. newt does not -- newt is not trying to appeal to lower angels of our nature. it just offends me when someone says -- because i know newt gingrich. he's worked very hard to attract all kinds of people from latinos, african-americans, al, you know he's worked with you on education. >> which is why what he's saying now is not what he said then. and you yourself said al sharpton. you don't like my answer since you asked it. and i do agree with rachel. he really brought race into this. i do not agree that he's appealing to it. >> you brought race in this. >> certainly not no angels. it's real devilish to say you're appealing the people by calling them food stamp people and calling their parents criminals
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and saying they have no role models. that's not appealing. >> okay. >> what republican -- you criticize democratic anti-poverty programs. and it's true the war on poverty as declared by lyndon johnson was not terribly successful. >> failed. >> you say republican anti-poverty policies have worked. please name to me the republican anti-poverty policy that has lifted people out of poverty and tell me how many people were lifted out of policy by republican policy? >> there hasn't been a program. we've not had a new deal a great deal, a great society. those have always been rejected. everybody in america -- we have a common culture. you play by the rules.
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>> people prospered in those years. people prospered in the years. including african-americans. >> african-americans were doubly unemployed under every one of them. show us the program that you had that you claimed work. >> lower taxes, more freedom, and free enterprise. that's the program. >> rick tyler. winning our super pac. i feel like we have gone rounds tonight. it was fun. thank you for being with us. we're going to continue is this conversation with chris matthews, michael steel and eugene robinson from miami.
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our coverage of the republican florida primary continues. one interesting fact to follow up on. chris observed in a newt gingrich speech tonight that he exhibited in chris' terms no grace towards mitt romney. chris said he did not notice if mr. gingrich conceded, in fact, that he had lost the florida primary to mr. romney. mr. gingrich did not make a concession, and in fact, mr. gingrich did not call mr. romney tonight to congratulate him on the victory, although we know from the speeches that both ron paul and rick santorum did. let's go back to miami and chris matthews. chris? >> i think that's consistent, rachel, with love is all around us tonight. we brought in two experts here. gene robinson, "washington post" and former chair of the republican national committee. both are msnbc political analysts and valued colleagues. my reaction, michael, i told you was i had the same reaction that our colleagues had on hearing the him call the commander in
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chief the al green tribute homage that president obama did the other night. i guess i associate newt gingrich with an attitude towards the this. you don't agree? >> i don't agree. i just thought -- my hats off to rick. it's tough to come into this environment to defend something you had nothing to do with to explain it, number one. but we need to get past seeing race behind every word. >> but the food stamp thing you saw, didn't you? >> look, as i said before, and i've said this very clearly. the republican party needs to be clear in how it expressions its positions on issues with respect to the black community. you cannot broad assumptions that when you start to have conversations about poor education, welfare and all the like that you immediately jump to black. particularly when you look at a place like iowa where that was not the case. that's a correction that can be made. on the other side of it we have
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to also be a little bit more judicious in making those leaps because i heard the same thing. no different if he was singing bing crosby. the point is you were entertaining. not specifically because you're black and al green is black. for me it was more of a stretch. i understand what al and others were saying. but i commend rick for trying his best to sort of put it in context. but that was a tough thing to do. and i thought it took more energy than was necessary. >> let me jump in on this. i have written in the "washington post." i have accused gingrich of race baiting with the food stamp president line. >> we had to touch all the bases. are you with me on al green or not? >> at the time i didn't hear it. thinking about it, it's been mentioned, i still didn't hear it. but i do think it was fair to
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ask rick tyler about it, however. that's his guy. >> by the way, technically, of course, it's not his guy. the real world we live in it is his guy. >> independent for gingrich. but he's supporting gingrich for president. and he was asked not only about al green, but but also the food stamps. when he attacked on race baiting. it's always true. i grew up with listening to it on the republican side. >> when bill clinton had his soldier, was that a racial moment? >> yeah. >> okay. but no one read it that way. everyone applauded. >> south carolina primary four
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years ago. i wrote about that, too. let's get off the race for a second onto the race. that's the question of mitt romney. when he looks at the numbers that tamron hall came up with, is he going to make moves? 41% say he's too liberal. 38% say they're looking for mr. or mrs. right and haven't shut up yet. >> that's a big number. >> which one is the biggest? the one that he's too liberal or not mr. right? >> that's a big number. after four contests that's a lot of folks still saying not seeing it. hats off, but they need to do more. >> the most fascinating thing
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was chuck todd on the counties. >> by the way, the food stamp line was working up north there, wasn't it? >> they are more like alabama and georgia than they are like south florida. how do have an establishment republican party who doesn't have the support of the party? >> back to you, rachel. >> when return, we're going to talk with a rick santorum supporter about why the former pennsylvania senator is vowing to fight on. in my opinion he seemed very convincing, even though he finished far back in the pack at third tonight. he says he's staying in. we'll find out why and what his plans are.
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you know what, in florida newt gingrich had his opportunity. he came out of the state of south carolina. he came out with a big win and a lot of money. and he said i'm going to be the conservative alternative. i'm going to be anti-mitt. and it didn't work. he became the issue.
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we can't allow our nominee to be the issue in the campaign. >> that's third place finisher, former pennsylvania senator rick santorum. right now with 95% of the vote in florida tonight, rick santorum with 13% of the vote. he's ahead of ron paul who is in single digits. but mitt romney is the big winner with 14% of the vote. newt gingrich in second. the headline tonight, other than mitt romney winning appears to be that nobody is getting out of the race. state representative scott plakin is a florida republican who supports rick santorum for president. thank you for your time tonight. we really appreciate it. >> thanks for having me on. here's a quandry for the campaign. polls last week showed your candidate, mr. santorum, is the most liked candidate in the florida race. 65% of likely voters are viewing him favorably. then he comes in a distant third place tonight. even the voter who is liked him, only 15% said they would vote for him.
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what's the distance between liking rick santorum and not voting for him? >> well, first of all, governor romney should get congratulations for tonight. i know speaker gingrich didn't call to congratulate him, but i will. i think the difference there is, yes, he is very well liked and you can see it in the crowds. the problem is the question of can he win? but if you look at what happened tonight and what's happening with speaker gingrich, just as senator santorum said, i think he had his shot. he seems to be in decline now. i think perhaps what they're seeing is there's one consistent conservative in the race, and it's rick santorum. i think as people get know him better, particularly republican voters, they're going to see what i see in senator santorum, a person that has been consistent in his values and be a good contrast to president obama. >> lot of candidates who are not consistent over time capture the hearts of voters. the flip-flop allegation hurts more as a matter of character than a matter of policy.
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i'm wondering whether or not mr. santorum is using the issue of character against mr. gingrich when he described him in the sound bite you just saw there as making himself the issue. he said mr. gingrich had a chance. he made himself the issue. and the republican party doesn't need that in their nominee. is that a shot at mr. gingrich's character? >> well, i wouldn't say it's a direct shot at the character. it is true. if you look at the debate in jacksonville the other night, i thought a real moment when he shined was when the two were bickering over things that don't matter to the future of our country. he said stopped and acknowledged me. let's talk about the great challenges of the country. i would see it in the debate just after that. i think it will follow through to the future states. >> i think the problem with the santorum campaign is it's his first time.
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and republicans do not vote for a candidate who is running the first time. the only time they did that since dwight eisenhower who had to end world war ii in order to achieve that is george w. bush, whose father was president. if your father isn't president, republicans won't vote until the second time around. and it's starting to sound to me like that is what rick santorum is playing for. he just said he's the anti- -- he wants to be the anti-mitt, which means he doesn't want to be on the ticket. he wants to stand up four years for now and say i was the guy you liked four years ago, and he wants to get his start really as a front-runner four years for now. >> oh, i think that would be completely misreading him. i was with him all day friday and spoke to him over the weekend, and he's in this to win it. and i know he looks like the underdog right now, but i think that conservative message will come through. and one thing that may be different and you guys know a lot more about history than i do, i'll acknowledge that.
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but i know that with social networking now, perhaps the old paradigms of getting your name out and getting people to know you may be different. so you look at them. >> congratulations on your presidential candidate's returns tonight. we thank you for being with us. >> thank you. >> santorum's spokesperson is a nice guy. they're likable, that santorum group. >> they are. i really like rick santorum. i don't agree with rick santorum on anything. anything! but i think that his speech tonight was an effective one. i thought it made news. it was hard edged. i thought it was effective. i don't know. >> agree. >> we'll see. >> when we return, final thoughts on this panel. msnbc's coverage of the florida primary continues right after this. stay with us.
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welcome back to our coverage of the florida republican primary. after tonight nevada caucuses on saturday. the main caucuses start on saturday. from february 4th through 11th. we have the colorado caucuses. the minnesota caucuses. the missouri primary. to be followed by the missouri caucus. then we've got c-pac. then we have a debate february
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22nd. then we have the arizona primary. then we have michigan primary. as we look forward to the rest of the race what changed? mitt romney just won florida. what changed that was not true before tonight? >> well, it is no small thing that newt gingrich didn't call him to say congratulations. that's a big deal. this is the fourth contest and the relationship has deteriorated where there's no phone calls. republicans have a real risk of the front-runner, mitt romney, his unfavorables being driven up over in long stretch. if you're a republican focused on beating the president, you have to be concerned with the tone and tenor of the campaign.
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>> the majority of the republican voters voted against mitt romney. that was after he bombarded the state with money. more than he spent. more than john mccain spent. combined 50% more than all the republican candidates spent in florida four years ago. that is one of the big things. he wasn't blown out tonight. he still is talking to the base. before south carolina, it was personal for mitt. it's really personal now. i don't see newt gingrich ever
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supporting mitt romney about what has happened in florida. he's going to stay in. i think santorum is going to stay. i think tonight that mr. romney was able to edge out a victory. it was a good size. as long as they keep behaving the way they're behaving, the president can keep going the way he's going. and we move onto nevada with the same cast and confusion. >> steve schmidt expects total war to be the next stage of this campaign. >> it could get worse. >> no one is out of the race, and i think newt gingrich was being racist when he called him entertainer in chief and told him to stop singing. thank you to steve schmidt. i'm rachel maddow.
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appreciate you spending your evening with us.
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